By Andrew Nelson, Contributor
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about this upcoming year in all Maverick sports, but two teams you should keep an eye on are the men’s and women’s soccer teams.
There’s a new sense of pride and interest in the game called soccer here in the United States after the nation’s strong showing this year in the World Cup.
This year’s national team caught the attention of many American fans and with that came a wave of growing interest from many new fans to the sport. This gives the Omaha soccer teams a perfect time to cash in on the recent soccer craze that is sweeping the nation.
One of the biggest stories this offseason was FIFA giving Omaha’s own Caniglia Field a two-Star certification, the highest synthetic turf rating awarded by the federation. UNO’s Caniglia Field is now one of just four stadiums in the country with this prestigious honor.
Two of those stadiums are home to Major League Soccer and the National Football League teams: Century Link Field in Seattle,Wash. and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. This newly awarded two-star rating is surely going to attract highly competitive opponents in the future, and it has already begun this year.
Omaha has announced games against top tier teams for the upcoming season. Omaha’s Men’s team will be flying to California for their second game this season to face UCLA in an exhibition match-up.
The Mavs will return home for a five game home stand which begins with the Red-Black Scrimmage on Aug. 23rd. They host Santa Clara, Stanford, Cincinnati and Belmont to end the string of home games.
On the women’s side, they will be facing fierce competition this season. The Mavs will be on the road for the majority of the first half of the season.
They host two home games in their first ten games of the season, and host seven out of 20 games overall. The first is against New Mexico State on Sept. 7th and the second against Creighton on Sept. 21st before starting Summit League play.
The Maverick soccer teams are still on the climb to full Division I membership, but just like other Omaha sports, the Maverick soccer teams are just about over the hump.
Despite the lack of wins last season for the Women’s team, seven of their eleven losses were by just one goal. One of the one goal losses came in overtime, and two other games the Mavericks ended the game in a tie.
There’s no doubt this year’s Women’s team will be looking to avenge those close losses to end their final year of transition.
The Men’s team has gotten better every season record-wise since the team’s establishment in the 2011-12 season. The Mavs went 6-9-1 including a .500 record (3-3) in Summit League play last season. Omaha also went 4-5-1 at home last year, including wins over Columbia, Western Illinois and IPFW. The Mavericks are certain to continue their rise to become a threat in Division I soccer.
It is gearing up to be an exciting year for Omaha soccer. You can purchase season tickets to all Omaha Men’s and Women’s home soccer games by just purchasing a OMAHA SOCCER/FUTBOL scarf for $30 from the Sapp Field House.
Fans must present the scarf at every home game for free entry. With a beautiful, top of the line facility, good quality opponents and a new buzz of excitement for soccer, Caniglia Field is sure to be packed and rowdy come this fall.