BYU Summer Football Starts Tonight

Looking for something to do this summer while you wait for the football season to start? Why not watch BYU football? Tonight, BYU will play the first of eight home football matches scheduled for the summer. Is this news to you? It should not be. The team already has a 2-1 record after three contests on the road.

Before going on, I should explain that when I say football, I am talking about the football that is actually played with your feet. You know, the game that most of the over 6 billion people outside of the United States call football. Not that game where people carry, throw, and catch some funny looking ball with their hands. The beautiful game, the game that dwarfs America's favorite sport in terms of world-wide popularity, participation and revenue.

Cross-cultural translation problems aside, BYU's football club, okay men's soccer team, has its first home game of the season tonight at 7:00 p.m. against the Tacoma FC. The game is the fourth of the season for the Cougars, who are currently tied for second place in the divisional standings. They are coming off a 1-0 road win the division-leading Abbotsford Rangers.

BYU has another home game tomorrow (Saturday) against the Yakima Reds at 7:30 p.m. For the out-of-towners, tonight's game will be broadcast live on BYU TV.

The Cougars are in their fourth season with the Premiere Development League (PDL). They showed steady improvement during their first three seasons, going 2-15-1 in 2003, 8-9-1 in 2004, and 8-7-1 in 2005. In 2005, the team missed the playoffs by one game.

This season, the team moves from the Southwest (California) Division to the Northwest division. Head Coach Chris Watkins thinks the move is a good thing for the playoff-hungry Cougars.

"The California division is by far the toughest," said Watkins. "We are in the Northwest so we are in with Oregon, Washington and Canadian teams. It is a little easier division so hopefully we can win the same amount of games and even make the playoffs."

The 2006 squad presents a different look from last season because BYU lost seven startes to graduation and LDS missionary service. Already 2-1 in league play, the team appears to have done a good job filling in the holes.

"We lost a lot of key players from last year, but we also gained a lot of strong players," said Captain Steve Magleby. "Some came back from their missions and other guys came in from the off-season working hard, so I think we have a really great shot this year of doing some great stuff. We've got a really good soccer team. The guys understand the game and play well together. I think we are starting to come together and it's going to be a great season."

The Cougars have depth at every position, but here are some players to watch. Brock Trejo #8, Jacob Cavanaugh #2, Magleby #22, and Tyson Miller #5, apply the pressure offensively. Hugh VanWagenen #7, and David Clark #13, mix things up at midfield. On defense, keep and eye out for #10 Sean Gilliam, #16 Andrew VanWagenen, and #23 Ken Ojuka. In goal, senior Mike Lacey, #00, is having an excellent season.

Since the Cougars are a professional club, All-Sport Passes will not get you into the game. Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for kids.

Games are played at South Field, which is immediately south of the Smith Fieldhouse.

For more on BYU's Men's Soccer, be sure to check out the next issue of Total Blue Sports Magazine for a feature on the team (in stores June 20th). Also, visit the team's official website at www.byusoccer.com or visit the team page on the PDL website at http://pdl.uslsoccer.com/teams/2006/22298.html.


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