Men’s soccer had better luck in the national rankings than the football team this week, earning a No. 22 ranking in the Soccer America top 25.
The last time the Bulls made the rankings was last October, just before a late-season loss to St. John’s on the road. This year, they’re one of four teams in the top 25 to have started their
season with four victories.
“To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about being ranked,” coach George Kiefer said. “I don’t know if we’ve done enough to be ranked right now. If anybody around here deserves to be ranked it’s the football team.”
After the first two weekends of regular-season play, the Bulls are off to their best start since 2004 when they went 5-0-0. USF will get their chance to match it Saturday at home against American University.
As the season moves into its more difficult stretch with conference play opening up on Sept. 21 against the University of Connecticut, Kiefer is relying on his older players to maintain focus.
“This team is smart enough to know that rankings don’t mean much,” Kiefer said. “We might have to sit a few of the freshmen down, but all the rest understand that it means very little at this point.”
Expectations of the Bulls this season were mediocre at the start, but with solid performances all around the field, they’re proving to be more of a threat than preseason polls predicted.
Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo earned a Big East honorable mention for his back-to-back shutouts of Florida International and South Carolina. The honor is the first of the sophomore’s career. He’s the second Bulls player of the young season to receive an honorable mention. Junior midfielder Kevon Neaves was honored for his efforts two weeks ago.
Five Bulls have scored in the four games thus far – three of whom are multi-goal contributors. They’ve out scored their opponents 9-2 and have only been out-shot once during that stretch.
Team confidence is high right now after storming out of the gates, but the national ranking will have little effect on how this Bulls squad views itself.
“We don’t need a ranking stem to tell us we’re good,” Kiefer said. “We know we got a lot of work to do, but we’re confident as a team. I’m not reading too much into it.”