|A Dixie State player goes for the ball while climbing over the back of a CEU Eagle.|
They are a new sport on campus this year, yet the crowd that watches them gets bigger with each game.
They are a club sport, which means little money from the institution goes to support them, even less comes from sponsors and they have to pay for a lot of stuff themselves.
There are no scholarships for playing soccer at the College of Eastern Utah.
Finally at mid-season they are 0-6, yet their enthusiasm and energy continue to grow rather than wane.
And despite the two losses last week that brought them to this point, their coach still brims with positive comments about the team and their situation.
"Actually we have done well considering that we lost our strongest goal maker two weeks ago," says Ron Dadgari. "I think we just need a couple of more adjustments and we will be fine."
For those who have a hard time understanding soccer, the game is somewhat like basketball with centers and forwards, and the players even dribble the ball with their feet. Passing to the open man is also a key, and a "John Stockton" type of soccer player is more valuable than a strong scorer. So what if the goal is a lot bigger, the ball is smaller and the players have to run the length of a football field to score?
Last Friday the team took on Southern Utah University and lost 3-1. The next morning, in the bright fall sunshine they lost 5-1 to a very strong Dixie team.
The fact that they are scoring in their games is a real plus. For many first year teams that becomes almost an impossibility. But the Eagles team has some strong players, even without their leading scorer Toshi Shinozuki, who hopefully will be back in a couple of weeks after tearing a ligament in his knee.
"He worked out with us last night a little and is looking good, but he isn't ready yet," said the coach.
Dadgari says that in the meantime his strategy is to disorganize the oppositions defense. While defense in all sports is important, in soccer it is the key component and if a team can take their opponents out of their comfort zone they have a good chance of winning.
"Against SUU we just had a hard time converting our offense into goals," says Dadgari. "In the Dixie game their speed killed us. But that wasn't all that went wrong. We played the second half short one man and even when we got a penalty kick we missed it. We just have to get more consistent."
Of course then there is the goalies position. When that spot has a strong player in it the rest of a team is strong too, even if they have just recently assembled into a club. Tyler King could be the leagues best goalie and probably is making more saves than almost anybody else in the conference.
The league will play six more games before a conference tournament on Nov, 12 and 13 at Dixie State. Then the equipment will be put away until next spring when the league opens up again for what could be considered a second season in one year.
In that league there will be 10 teams rather than the current six including, Utah State and Idaho State.
For now however, the team and Dadgari will continue to concentrate on winning a game in their present circumstances. But even more important they seem to be having a lot of fun trying to do that.
And afterall isn't that what sports are supposed to be about?