With such an explosive season so far- Stanford scoring 31 goals in September, the University of South Carolina going 10-1-0, and the University of Central Florida outscoring their opponents 38-6- it seems that the teams are more focused on putting goals in the back of the net more than anything else. While this results in an exciting season for fans, one big question is left- How is everyone finding the back of the net so easily?
For this question, I use my two years of psychology courses along with countless soccer knowledge. It’s no doubt that this season has picked up more pace than last season- watch any game and you can see how many goals these college players are putting away. So what’s so different about this season? Simple answer: the freedom to shoot. If anyone looks at the games where teams have been winning 5-0, 6-0, even 10-0, there’s a distinct difference between the confidence of the teams- the midfield playing a big part of it. The forwards are able to shoot so well because the midfield is feeding them some great balls, setting up amazing crosses, getting PK’s, etc. The midfield players are obviously helping out the forwards with some great assists, but more importantly they’re giving their front line the confidence to shoot. And, in my not so expert opinion, that’s been the big difference this year.
When forwards have the freedom to shoot they perform at such a high level, it’s no wonder some teams are coming out winning by four or more goals. Fortunately for college soccer viewers, I’m predicting this strong start of the season will continue on. How could it not, when these players keep gaining confidence with every lopsided win? It’s a cycle- more confidence leads to more goals which leads to more confidence which- you get the idea. With this new found confidence, thanks to the midfield, players are able to score game winners from 35 yards out- Erika Okuma and some other stars comes to mind.
Although I think this hot streak will continue, I have been to known to jinx certain teams with my previous posts, (Stanford, I’m still sorry) so hopefully after this post is uploaded teams still continue to score. However, if this is the jinx post, I have to start looking at other career options. Regardless, I find it hard to imagine that all of these forwards would suddenly lose confidence and the ability to shoot. So, keep expecting some big scoring games this season, and be on the lookout for the difference in the midfield.