Soccer-mad Cincinnati has a nationally-ranked team to cheer for this season, and it's not just an overnight success story.
The UC women's soccer team was ranked 15th nationally in Soccer America Women's Top 25 before Saturday's 3-0 loss to Illinois. (Ironically, the only other time these two teams played, in 2002, UC lost, 3-0 on the road to the Ilini.) Despite that loss, the Bearcats are starting to garner national attention.
Head coach Michelle Salmon is 23-18-5 in her three seasons at UC and, in this 30th anniversary year of UC soccer, is quick to credit the foundation that was laid before she came to Clifton.
"(Former women's soccer coach) Meridy Glenn did a terrific job establishing this tradition," said Coach Salmon. "That's one reason I came to UC was the history of this program."
Coach Salmon has seen that history come to life during UC's 5-0-1 record to start the season, the first time in school history that UC had been unbeaten in its first six games of the year. "I've been getting emails and text messages from soccer alumni all over the country, congratulating us on our start." Coach said. "That's what separates Cincinnati from other programs. They care so much about what Cincinnati represents. It's a special place to play."
And with the Greater Cincinnati area such a hotbed for youth soccer programs, Coach Salmon sees that 30 years of tradition as a huge asset in making sure that talent sticks around. "You look at the players we have from Cincinnati. (right now 11 players are from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area) We have a lot of really good Cincinnati players. We don't have to go far. Our job is to keep local talent here."
UC's women's soccer team is getting some vital experience against big-time teams getting ready for BIG EAST play. They play an exciting brand of soccer--and will be making some noise in the conference. Plus, if you've never been to the campus' Gettler Stadium, it's worth it just to see the facility. First class all the way, parking garage next door, couldn't be easier to attend.
Coach Salmon knows that the 30-year history of the program will help pave its future. But the present is pretty exciting as well. Catch the Bearcats the next time they're in town.