Our first test in a cup competition didn't go well. On Tuesday night our club lost a match to National Soccer League side Vikings AA in DeKalb. The 3-1 result was probably fair based on the performance from my novice eyes. Suffice it to say it was a disappointing evening for our club.
What does it mean? As we look at our 2nd year club from the inside it's painful. We seem to be making progress and getting some decent results on the field and we seem to be maturing and finding ways to grind out points in a tough UPSL division. And then suddenly we have an off-night like we saw Tuesday. Still there are good things happening and the team seems to be growing together.
The idea to enter the State Cup came largely from me. I felt strongly that it was a cup competition we could not only manage from a business perspective with costs and relatively reasonable travel, but it could give us a new type of competition, new experience for the players and a chance to win a trophy. We could realistically be State Champions of amateur soccer, and when the draw came out it laid out a road of four matches (four wins) to hoist the cup. Fortunately the rest of our board agreed that the costs were worth the opportunity and away we went.
I was happy with the number of fans who appeared for an 8pm kickoff on Tuesday. I even saw some new faces there for the first time supporting their club. I took the lead in working the ticket booth so that the rest of our volunteer staff had a rare chance to watch a home game instead of being occupied working the event. We're so lucky and grateful to have so many great people who believe in this club, some of which drove two hours to be at this weeknight match.
Now that I've had some time to digest, I'm still disappointed. I think the opportunity was there and we were not "up for it." Maybe we overlooked the fact that they didn't have a coach. Maybe we thought their squad with just two subs would wear down eventually. Or maybe it was the new environment that we had to overcome and it was too much change at once for us to get through.
All of us are responsible for finding ways to deliver on nights like this, so maybe we needed more songs from the Silos, clever chants from the Brit or just more "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" from me.
I'm still mad at the result. But the club is more than one game, one goal, one player, one win or one loss. I'm excited for our home match on Friday as the weather looks awesome and we can finally get back to the NIU Soccer Stadium and run a proper match
day. United Serbian Soccer Club visits for the first time and I'm certain they will be ready.
Hopefully the boys get back on track, and I hope the supporters come in numbers with their noisemakers. We. Are. United.