Men’s soccer is absent at USC

first_imgUSC is home to some of the greatest sport teams in the country. With over 120 national championships in sports ranging from football to water polo, you could say USC is the school to attend for student athletes.However, even with all the national championships, Olympians and Heisman Trophy winners, something feels missing.Soccer is the world’s largest, most watched and most played sport. To put things into perspective, 115 million people watched the Super Bowl this year, setting a U.S. record for the most viewed television program in history. The day before the Super Bowl, however, Premier League leaders Chelsea and Manchester City played, drawing over 500 million viewers worldwide, or almost five times as many viewers as America’s biggest sporting spectacle.Despite soccer’s massive international appeal and rising domestic popularity following the past few World Cups, USC does not field a Division I men’s soccer team. However, there are numerous reasons why USC should be pushing to add a team.To start off, I’m still amazed that USC has teams in much smaller sports like water polo and swimming. These are great sports, but they draw nowhere near the popularity that soccer does. The skeptic will be quick to point out that USC does have a women’s soccer team and is limited by restrictions from Title IX.Yes, the Trojans do field a women’s team, a pretty good one too, as it won the NCAA tournament back in 2007. But USC’s constant claims that it cannot field a team because of Title IX is rubbish.Title IX requires that universities have equal funding for both men’s and women’s collegiate teams, which has contributed to the rise of women’s sports in the United States. While many smaller schools are hampered by Title IX regulations, leading to some sports teams being cut, larger schools such as UCLA, Stanford and Virginia, to name a few, all manage to have both men’s and women’s soccer teams.This past year, UCLA and Virginia played in the NCAA men’s soccer national championship game, with the Cavaliers taking the trophy home (thank God). Both of these schools also field highly competitive football and basketball programs, yet still manage to have a men’s soccer team. Other top schools like North Carolina, Louisville and California also manage to field teams in football, basketball and soccer.It is incomprehensible that a university with more than $4 billion endowment cannot find the money to fund a Division I men’s soccer program.As a former member of the USC men’s club soccer team here on campus, I can speak firsthand in saying that the interest and talent is present for the administration to start a Division I squad. Every semester, the club team draws over 100 players vying for a spot on a    30-man roster.Most of the players that play for the club team have the talent to easily play for competitive Division I or Division II teams. However, by choosing to attend USC, the players are stuck in a much lower level of play.The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home to the USC football team, recently sold out an annual tournament featuring teams from Mexico’s premier soccer division. The Coliseum is also set to host the Mexican national team versus Ecuador this coming March.Soccer is growing rapidly in popularity, especially in Los Angeles, following the United States’ successes in recent World Cups. USC is situated in one of the largest youth soccer hotbeds in the country. Numerous players from the L.A. area, like Landon Donovan, have gone on to play professionally.On top of international success, Los Angeles’ professional team, the Galaxy, has won the MLS championship three out of the last four years, while selling out almost every home game. On top of that, the Galaxy recently signed English star Steven Gerrard to a contract for next season, driving home the fact that U.S. soccer is becoming a global brand.How can a university which enrolls almost more foreign students than any other school fail to recognize the importance of soccer?USC often boasts about being one of the most diverse universities in the United States, enrolling more than 9,000 foreign students during the 2012-2013 year. Most of these students come from countries where soccer is viewed as a religion, leaving them shocked by the fact that the Trojans do not have a team.Upset by the fact that the university has yet to add a Division I program, some disgruntled students have taken action into their own hands. There is currently a petition on the popular website change.org with close to 800 signatures, almost 5 percent of the undergraduate student body.The university recently announced that it will be adding another men’s sport in the coming future, after women’s lacrosse was added three years ago. Along with wrestling and lacrosse, soccer is one of the sports up for consideration. For now, students will have to be content with intramural and club soccer.There will always be obstacles, and I’m not saying it will be easy, but adding a men’s soccer team to USC is a must. The ball is in your box, USC. Give the students what they deserve and bring the beautiful game to Los Angeles.Nick Barbarino is a junior majoring in business administration. His column “Beyond the Arc” runs Fridays.last_img

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