You may have missed it over the last few weeks but the NCAA Soccer Championships were played and Maryland beat UNC for the Men’s Championship. The UNC women’s team picked up the slack and beat undefeated Notre Dame for their 19th division title. The closest Georgia representative to make the playoffs was the UGA women’s teams. No men’s team was even an afterthought. In fact, in Georgia, there are no men’s teams. Okay fine, Southern Polytechnic University had a good year for their second in existence. Georgia State has a longstanding men’s program that was birthed in 1980. Unfortunately we may be able to inscribe its ending date on the tombstone in the next year or two.
Georgia State’s long running program may be a casualty of the new football program that starts play in 2010. With Title IX regulations there will be changes in the men’s sports programming so only time will tell it soccer makes the cut. I’m not saying that title IX is bad or I’m against it in any way. I do however have concerns that in Georgia men soccer players that want to stay in state will never have a men’s program of note.
When you look at the world dominance that is the Women’s National Team you can’t help but wonder how things would have been different if those scholarships and programs weren’t available. Conversely, on the men’s side of things the number of college players that make it to major league soccer is pretty limited. The players with the most talent/potential forgo college and enter the pros at a young age (see Freddi Adu, Jozy Altidore, or any National Team regular under 25). With the absence of a quality academy system in the states the college programs still play an important role. We may just have to accept in the land where the other football is king we won’t see many local programs elevate their game to the national stage.
What are your thoughts on college soccer and the influence of Title IX?