Tigers Aiming for National Championship

CLEMSON – Trevor Adair has waited for this moment his entire coaching career. And not that it's finally happened, it doesn't have the feeling he thought it would.

What: Clemson (15-5-3) vs. New Mexico (17-1-3) in the semifinals of the NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup
Where: Cary, N.C.
When: 6:30 p.m.
Up Next: Play winner of SMU-Maryland for the National Championship at 4 p.m. or end of season.

Immediately following the Tigers' 1-0 win over Creighton in front of 6,100 fans, the second largest crowd ever to view a soccer match at Clemson, Adair cried out of joy and sorrow.

The Clemson men's soccer coach has reached his first NCAA College Cup semifinals in six attempts, where it will take on New Mexico at 6:30 p.m. However, it's just not the same.

On Thanksgiving Day, Adair's father died in Northern Ireland after a six-week fight with lung cancer. It was his father's dream to see his son coach in soccer's version of the Final Four.

"It's hard for me to totally bask in it because of what's been going on," Adair said. "For me, it has been a little bittersweet."

That fact that Clemson's last visit to the semifinals came in 1987 when they won the national championship, had several wondering if Adair would ever be able to get the Tigers back to the glory years. He had guided the Tigers to four previous quarterfinal matches, but had lost all of them.

"I thought my nickname was going to be ‘Quarterfinal Trevor,' " he said. "To have my fifth one here at Clemson, people like to put labels on you, but I cast that monkey off my back. And I'm sure glad. It felt a lot lighter waking up on Saturday morning."

The Tigers started this season on very shaky ground. Clemson started 5-4-2 and finished seventh in the ACC with a 2-4-2 mark and Adair thought his job was in jeopardy.
But since those first 11 games, the Tigers are 10-1-1 and are now just two wins away from being crowned national champions.

"We'll go to the Final Four relaxed," Adair said. "But when that whistle blows, we'll be out for blood. It's a man's game, and these guys know it's going to be physical. But they're ready to play."

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