The men’s soccer team gears up for a weekend of matches; the team plays the University of Utah on Friday and Southern Utah University on Saturday, with both games being played at BYU’s South Field.
“This weekend should be pretty good,” Assistant Coach Chad Sackett said. “A double header, we haven’t had a double header for a long time.”
The rivalry begins Friday night at 7 p.m. when the Utes take the field against the Cougars.
“Playing the University of Utah there’s always that rivalry involved,” Sackett said. “Matt Ellinger, he’s the head coach up there, he’s done a good job of making that program bigger and better.”
The team hopes to get a large crowd together for the two games and plans on doing what it can to make that happen.
“We’re working on building the hype,” sophomore and team captain Colby Bauer said. “We’re going to hand out fliers this week and put a post on Facebook.”
“I think that’s why we play Utah,” Sackett said. “Because of the rivalry in itself and it adds more for the fans, they get a little bit into it.”
Fans tend to get excited about games against Utah, so it shouldn’t be too hard to rally a crowd, Bauer said.
Even though these fall games are merely exhibitions, the team still feels the heat.
“Since we’re not in the club it’s not like a season game for us,” Sackett said. “The fact that it’s BYU versus Utah; it’s always going to be a rivalry, and after this weekend it might be a little bit more intense just because of what happened with football.”
As far as SUU is concerned there is some unfamiliarity on both sides.
“SUU, we don’t know much about them,” Sackett said. “They’re in a club section of what they do, and I don’t know how [good] they are or what level they’ll be at, so hopefully we’ll kind of get a good look there.”
The fall season is composed of exhibition games, meaning that a win or a loss doesn’t count for anything as far as a championship goes.
“Obviously we want to gain two wins,” Bauer said. “But it’s also about learning who plays well with each other.”
The fall season is about betterment for the men, a chance to develop greater chemistry and implement strategy.
“We’re just trying to get better every day and improve ourselves,” freshman Jake Miles said. “Personally I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team and play my best to showcase our team.”
There are often even differences between the Premier Development League roster and the fall roster.
“The fall season a lot of times we’re given guys that are kind of newer players,” Sackett said. “We’re [giving] some guys that are freshman some good looks, because this is kind of our exhibition season; we aren’t playing for a championship or playoff or anything like that.”
The coaching staff likes to get a good look at who plays well with each other for when the season actually begins.
“A lot of these games we’ll rotate a lot of our guys,” Sackett said. “Everybody gets 20–30 minutes a game just so we have the opportunity to see them play, to get ready for our tryouts in January.”
The exhibition games will begin at 7 p.m. both nights. Tickets may be purchased at the gate.