The UCF women’s soccer team deserves better. They deserve more support from the student body, UCF alumni and the local community simply because they are good.
And they have been good for a while now.
In the last 10 years, the Knights have made nine NCAA Tournament appearances. They ended their regular season 13-1-3 this year, clinched the regular season American Athletic Conference title and ended the regular season ranked No. 7 in the nation.
You would think with a resume that impressive, the school would be buzzing with excitement to support this team, right? Wrong, and that is a problem.
UCF hosted USF for the AAC Tournament Championship this past Sunday and I was shocked to see that the already-small stands at UCF Soccer Complex were not even close to being full.
UCF students have a team that has proven to be good year after year, but the school cannot even come out to support their biggest game of the season, which was also against their biggest rival? Something is not right there.
Maybe this starts with the issue that women’s soccer as a whole is underappreciated in the United States. I felt the effects of this firsthand growing up. I played soccer from the time I was four years old to when I left for college. I was on a championship-winning team in high school and we still could never fully fill our stands for home games.
Even as high up as the US Women’s National Team, players have to deal with being underappreciated. The women’s team has won the World Cup three times but its players are still paid less than the men’s team, which didn’t even qualify for the next World Cup.
This brings my point back here to Orlando. The UCF’s women’s soccer team practically guarantees success for its university and is consistently high in the NCAA national rankings. They deserve more credit than they get. Whether that means seeing a packed stadium from the field during a game, or even just getting the respect and support of their student body, something needs to change.
What more can this team do to earn support from the school? In my eyes, there is not much. The Knights are a powerhouse program and should definitely be recognized as one. Hopefully, in my time left here at UCF, this team will finally get the support and respect that it so rightfully deserves.