Last year, after covering a large chunk of the Division I soccer season, the Center Circle attended the College Cup to watch the four best Division I squads duke it out for the title of National Champion. In the middle of Alabama, the weather was perfect for a sport that is still growing and attempting to develop a fan-base. The semi-finals were played in the mid-60′s and the finals were slightly colder in the 50′s, meaning even the most casual fan could enjoy the entirety of the College Cup.
This year, the NCAA decided to move the College Cup to Philadelphia. Apparently, the powers that be are unaware of what type of weather they will be facing. Perhaps they should ask the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles that were playing in several inches of snow, a situation that made the quality of play relatively poor and the view for those of us watching at home abysmal. Although the forecast for the Cup next weekend is relatively free of snow (for now), the weather will not be rising above freezing for the entirety of the tournament.
As previously mentioned, college soccer is beginning to see significant growth via the success of the Barclays Premier League and the MLS, but this could effectively kill one of the biggest draws of the year. For any avid viewer of the MLS, watching the EPL early in the day and then watching the MLS later in the day would cause the MLS to look exceedingly poor because of the direct comparison that viewers were making. This same aspect will plague the College Cup next week as a fantastic EPL season will showcase another group of games before the College Cup is displayed on ESPN later in the day. Add in that players will be attempting to showcase the best of their talents and the weather might really cause some poor play from the teams that should be showing the absolute cream of the college crop.
As terrible as this Cup might be, if the situation is negative enough then it might convince the NCAA to take more care of its greatest soccer commodity. We here at the Center Circle are hoping for a great Cup and a great viewing of the MLS’s next great talents, but if the NCAA refuses to make relatively simple decisions in regards to the Cup then college soccer’s growth might be stunted while the rest of the sport continues to experience epic growth. For anyone attending the Cup this weekend, bundle up and tell any NCAA official you see to use their noggin…