Southern Oregon University announced it’s ready to start a men’s soccer team, but there are still many unknowns. The official announcement on the 8th of January did not release when tryouts would start or who will the head coach, but
with the area eager for a college soccer team as evidenced by club play, Southern Oregon University is likely to draw some attention.
Eddie Tovar, Captain of the men’s club team says he’ll be trying out, “To have the opportunity to play a sport you love at a high level is a hard thing to resist. It’s going to take a significant amount of time and effort from the coaches and players standpoint to give the fans a product they want to see on the field.”
High School soccer is very competitive in the Ashland and Medford area. St. Mary’s Varsity High School coach Paul Coughlin says, “It will give them a great opportunity to keep playing the game that they love. And then if they settle down locally, our area will have more coaches to choose from as well. It’s a very good development for the sport”
Financially, soccer is a sport that’s American fan-base is growing more each year, producing more revenue. Adding a soccer team to SOU is an attractive aspect to incoming students, and with more people interested in the game the prospective
budget could be worth consideration for future years. In fact, revenue generated by the sport has nearly tripled for both men’s and women’s soccer. The average program is still operating at a loss, but that gap is closing fast according to databases used by “WinAd”, a collegiate athletic newsletter which tracks campus sports.
In Southern Oregon, Coughlin acknowledged the growth of soccer here, “Respect for the game has arisen as well. It is been a great thing to see over the last 20 years of coaching.” And with a strong local youth following, he says the program is set up
The Southern Oregon Men’s team will play in the Cascade Collegiate League, travelling to compete against teams such as OIT in Klamath Falls and College of Idaho in Caldwell. Last year, Concordia finished in first place with a record of 13-5,
which may be a very good test of how well a first year team will compare against the established programs.
Tovar says he’s hopeful about the upcoming season and what it will do for future years, “I think the main focus for a first year program should be on creating a foundation and culture that can get the program heading in the right direction.”