Player looks to leave mark in tournament

On Aug. 31, 2001, something memorable happened for the USF men’s soccer team, although at the time no one paid any attention to it.

More than three years ago, only weeks after his 19th birthday, Brandon Streicher started his first game as a Bull defender and began a remarkable streak that could quite easily make him the iron man of USF soccer.

In Saturday’s 3-1 win over Louisville, Streicher played in his 74th consecutive game as a Bull, tying the all-time record with three other players. The last USF player to play in 74 straight games was Matt Cavenaugh and his last game was in 2001, the same year as Streicher’s first year as a starter. In Streicher’s career, the Bulls have tallied a record of 43-26-5.

However, the 5-foot-10-inch Odessa native didn’t notice the record. As a matter of fact, he had to be told about it.

“(This streak) just means consistency, day in and day out in practice,” the senior said. “I’ve played in every game since I’ve been here, so the coaches just had faith in me to put me in the field, and it’s a little bit of luck not getting hurt. I really didn’t even know until they said it before the game (against Louisville).”

Streicher has had USF coach George Kiefer for the majority of his career. Kiefer says Streicher will be sorely missed next year in the Big East.

“I’m happy to hear (about the record),” Kiefer said about his defender before Saturday’s win. “I’ve coached Brandon for three years and when I first got here there were a lot of players making choices (to leave) and Brandon is one of those guys that believed in what we were doing. He’s played in every game I have been involved with and is just a very consistent soccer player. He doesn’t have any ego and brings it every day. I’d take Brandon every year if I could.”

Not only does Kiefer admire Streicher’s work ethic on and off the field, he has told his younger players to play by his defender’s example.

“There was a period there where we were struggling a little bit, and I (told) the group, ‘Look at Brandon. Look at how Brandon shows up every day. Look how consistent Brandon is.’

“When Brandon shows up on the field, you know what you’re going to get. Day in and day out, and that’s a big trait for a college soccer player.”

With 74 games in the record books, Streicher will set the new record with his 75th consecutive game when USF (10-4-2, 5-3-1 C-USA) faces St. Louis (8-7-, 5-3-1 C-USA) in the first round of the Conference USA tournament Thursday at 5 p.m. at Cardinal Park in Louisville.

Although USF, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, tied the fifth-seeded Billikens 2-2 in the regular season, the winner will meet No. 1 seed Memphis (13-3-1, 8-1-0 C-USA) on Friday at 5 p.m. The Tigers’ only conference loss in 2004 came when the Bulls beat them 2-0 on Oct. 9.

But after five years of soccer (he was redshirted his freshmen year) and earning a degree in mechanical engineering, Streicher will attempt to do something he has yet to accomplish at USF: win a conference playoff game.

“I’m very excited about the tournament,” Streicher said. “I want to get a ring really bad. I haven’t even won a game in the Conference USA tournament, and I’m looking forward to getting there and hopefully getting through the tournament.”