USF opened its season Friday with a 0-2 loss at Florida Gulf Coast University. Today, the men’s soccer team will look to win its first match of the season when the team hosts Akron in the home opener.
Akron is receiving votes to be ranked in the top 25 teams in the nation according to the NCAA coaches’ poll, but the Bulls don’t let rankings intimidate them.
“We don’t pay too much attention to that,” senior defender Wesley Charpie said. “Any team we play, we have the same mindset. Coach reiterates that every day in practice, but it does mean a lot because we want to beat a good team and show everyone what we’re about this year.”
Akron has advanced to seven straight NCAA tournaments, establishing a strong history of success. But this season, the team is off to a rough start having lost both of their exhibition matches as well as the first match of the season.
Senior midfielder Lucas Baldin said the team will be amped up for their first home game and the home-field advantage could give the team the spark it needs to defeat Akron.
“This is a great atmosphere we have at Corbett,” Baldin said. “I’m excited to see our fans packing the stadium. To play in our home field with our crowd is the best feeling anyone could have.”
While Charpie said the team tries not to pay attention to rankings, he admitted his teammates are ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
“It means a lot, it’s a big game,” Charpie said. “It’s a good team and we want to make a statement.”