Louisville Cardinal Soccer Goes Big Time


Edited 8/14 10:13 am.

A prelude.

During my daily jog the other week, I passed three Little League age boys, each wearing the jersey of his favorite team and player.

Who might you guess? Yankees/ Jeter? Reds/ Votto? Dodgers/ Kershaw?

Nice try.

Two were with their father. One brother had on a Real Madrid replica with “Ronaldo” on the back. The other, a signature red and blue vertical striped F.C. Barcelona shirt, with, of course, “Messi” on the back.

When I made a comment while trundling past about how the youngsters “must really get along,” — those teams and players are bitter rivals in La Liga — dad just laughed.

About a block away — same day, same street — another youngster was trailing along behind his older sister. She, dressed as if ready for the Miley Cyrus concert though it was still days away, was talking on her cellphone.

He was dawdling in his Wayne Rooney Man U. kit.

Anecdotal evidence obviously, but, ladies, gents and soccer haters everywhere, fütbol’s time in America is looking more and more like right now.

* * * * *

Yesterday was meet & greet day for U of L Men’s Soccer.

During his stint at the mic, Louisville soccer mentor Ken Lolla marveled at the conflux of events that have vaulted U of L into the upper echelon of college soccer more firmly than ever.1

Peripherally, there’s the bump from the U.S.’s run in the World Cup. He mentioned how “encouraged” he was about the sport’s status in town, while watching two of those WC matches in public places, one at Saint’s, the other at Fourth Street Live.

He noted how soccer savvy and educated the viewers were, which he could tell by their reactions to action on the screens.

The main two occurrences he stressed are these:

1) The new soccer stadium along Cardinal Corridor on Floyd Street. He was unequivocal when he stated “it is the best facility in college soccer.”

2) The ACC is clearly the best conference in the NCAA.

Lolla, always an engaging, upbeat guy,2  looking dapper in red khakis and a black, red & white striped shirt, is a happy guy.

He expects this year’s Cardinal edition to be one of his best teams. ” We are talented, experienced and have character.” All but one of the back line stalwarts return, from a squad that pitched 5 straight shutouts in the middle of last season.

When asked if the conference and new stadium had helped recruiting, he essentially answered, “Duh!!!!” Though he was much more eloquent and much less sarcastic than my extrapolation of his actual response.

As for team specifics, I’ll admit this. I’m not sure I understand the game enough to ask questions about strategy, etc. Even personnel. Nor do, I might add, most other members of the local media.

There were a couple of twentysomethings, who, unlike us old farts who played baseball in our youth, know what a 5-3-2 set up is. Know what it means to bring a midfielder forward.

I’m committed to accelerating my learning curve.

Here’s a link to the Cardinals schedule.

The dedication game at The Lynn is Friday, August 29 against national power Maryland.3

* * * * *

After wandering about the unbelievable new training and locker room facility, which is separate from the stadium itself, then checking out the field with 5,000 roof-covered, chair back seats, and a humongous digital, electronic scoreboard. here’s what I thought of.

At “The Last Waltz,” the Band’s farewell concert, one of the early guests on stage was Ronnie Hawkins, a journeyman singer, with whom the group developed its chops as backup before they landed at Big Pink with Dylan. Hawkins was obviously pumped to be singing again with such august company.

As the band vamps into a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?,” Hawkins, a smile a time zone wide, looks off stage to a pal and exclaims, “Big time, Bill. Big time. Big time.”

It is clear beyond peradventure that is the neighborhood where University of Louisville Cardinal sports now resides.

The Big Time.

— Seedy K