If you have not seen the news today, UB Athletic department outlined a plan for new athletic building and upgrades. You can view the article here UB Athletics Master. The area that jumped out was the dollar amount being spent to bring a state of the art field for soccer. Now the range is dubious, $5 - $10 Mil dollars. Why would UB spend some much for soccer. A sport that UB has not excelled in? The first thought would be to use that money for Lacrosse (full disclosure, my brother is a college head lacrosse coach so I am biased) and for hockey (full disclosure I played hockey for UB), both men and women's teams.
I understand why Danny would wait to hold off on hockey. We have hockey at Buff. State, Niagara, and Canissus. Having a hockey team allows local fans to compare the Universities and Colleges. Danny wants to distance with football and soccer. Niagara has had success recently with soccer and making in the the NCAA's but nothing like the success that a MAC team like Akron has achieved. Akron lost in the finals in 1986 1 - 0 to Duke for the NCAA championships. Akron recently has been ranked #1 and has won a National Championship in the last few years, sending tons of guys to MLS. Could you imagine a MAC football team with a #1 ranking? The team is so good that lawn tractor manufacture Cub Cadet and First Energy has sponsored the field. Link to thier facilityAkron Soccer Facility
Soccer is hot right now. Soccer was always a big sport and countless millions of players ate orange wedges and dreamed on being Pele until high school. Soccer was sport that many (I am talking 'Merica here) enjoyed playing as kids but lost interest to American Football. That is all starting to change. The EPL (English Premiere League) is amassing great ratings in the States. NBC fought Fox over the right to broadcast games. Jersey's are on display when I am out. Hard core football fans are having conversations with me how much they love watching the early Saturday and Sunday soccer games. This is also a world cup year being held in Brazil. Soccer is a hot sport.
How can UB succeed in soccer. Hello Canada. Canada has a much more diverse European flair and kinship. Soccer is a really big sport in Canada. The recruits that UB can pull just out of Southern Ontario is staggering. UB also is home to many from all across the world. It would not be hard to recruit players from England, Scotland, France, Spain, and etc. Also, UB is so close to powerhouse states in soccer of New Jersey and Philadelphia. UB can pull players from Buffalo and Rochester (Amy Wambach, maybe the greatest women's soccer player grew up and learned to play the game in Rochester.)
I really believe that with the right facility, the right coach, great recruiting, UB can make a splash on the collegiate scene the best with soccer. The field house will certainly help with recruiting. Akron is so good that their soccer field has lights sufficient for HD taping and broadcast. Let's see UB dominate in soccer!