This year, in an unusually tough Conference USA, USF men’s soccer finds itself 0-2-1 with a conference match-up this weekend against nationally ranked UAB. The Bulls, however, are looking for just that; tough games.
“I think that’s why players choose to come to the University of South Florida — to play the better teams,” USF coach George Kiefer said. “One of our selling points when we recruit is that we will play any team in the country.”
The Bulls are hosting the UAB Blazers tonight, and they will not only find a team that is undefeated in C-USA, but they will find a team that currently sits at No. 5 in the College Soccer News Top 25.
“This is a conference game as well so it says something about (C-USA),” Kiefer said. “C-USA is a good conference every year, but particularly on this year I think you have a wide variety of styles and having two teams in the Top 10 says a lot about C-USA.”
St. Louis is currently the second team in the Top 10 that belongs to C-USA and holds the No.10 position on the College Soccer News Top 25. The Bulls will be playing the Billikens next weekend when they travel to St. Louis on Saturday.
Kiefer said all of these nationally ranked teams that the Bulls play only help to mature his young team.
“I think it’s great, and I wouldn’t want players on the field that didn’t want to play top teams,” Kiefer said. “We want guys that want to play anyone in the country; it is the only way you get better.”
The Blazers have currently been on a goal-scoring hot streak, netting 11 goals in the past five games.
“They have, and I’m not just saying this, they have six or seven guys that can hurt you,” Kiefer said. “So if you look at their scoring, it is pretty spread out.”
USF is statistically up to the challenge. However, the Bulls have allowed three goals in only one game, and have shutout their opponents twice this season.
“We have set out some priorities on defense that need to happen and I am hoping that they are ready to put in a good match — 90 minutes on defense,” Kiefer said. “I am excited about the match, and I hope my guys are excited about the match (too).”
If anything, this game will be educational for USF’s young team, Kiefer said.
“It is going to be a good test for our guys,” Kiefer said.