The Biggest Game of the Year: Part 1

There are important soccer rivalries all around the world each year. SuperClásicoEl Clásico. ManU-Liverpool. For me, the Rome derby. These are storied rivalries, each fan will probably find themselves at their greatest absolute value of emotion at some point during the game. But these games are played at least twice a season.  Three times or more in the case of cup ties.

In the world of college soccer, there may be only one great rivalry, maybe only one great Game in the year. The Santa Clara-Portland game.  Does any match-up in the country have their history?  Their stakes?  Typically, the team that wins their annual meeting will go on to win the WCC, which includes a berth to the NCAA playoffs. The crowd for this game will be the largest for the home team stadium that season. (Except for Portland, whose attendance increases in the post-season. (Assuming they have home games in the post-season.))  The Game is frequently sold out as far as a week in advance. It is consistently televised nationally.

The Game is special. It typically happens only once per year, but every year. (The WCC, unlike other conferences does not have an annual tournament. Whoever is at the top of the conference table is the WCC Champion that year, much like European leagues.) Not even the storied University of North Carolina can boast such a significant game. Perhaps, as their supporters suggest, it is because they have no true rivals. Even if they did, these rivals would not be in the ACC, and so would be unlikely to play UNC annually.

What makes this rivalry so interesting?  Why does it matter?  Well, for one, women’s soccer is the flagship sport for both schools.  Both schools have a history of developing future stars of the US (and Canadian) Women’s National Team. They like to play possession-oriented, beautiful soccer.

Taking a step back and speaking personally, it’s my favorite game of the season. (And I’m including AS Roma games, here) I’ll probably talk about it once or five times every few weeks until October 24. I’m going to do my best to distill it in a series of posts, grabbing from outside sources and from my co-writer, and really get to the heart of what is, for me, the biggest game of the year.

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3 Responses to The Biggest Game of the Year: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Biggest Game of the Year: Part 1 « The Cross-Conference Collector -- Topsy.com

  2. Pingback: Notre Dame vs. Santa Clara, another clash of the Catholics « The Cross-Conference Collector

  3. Pingback: The Biggest Game of the Year: Part 2 (Or: How to Have a Great Rivalry) « The Cross-Conference Collector

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