COLUMBIA — It’s just another game.
That has been the Columbia College men’s soccer team motto this season. A season that looked unclear at the start.
But with each game, and with each win, the team’s confidence grew. Now, the Cougars find themselves playing in the American Midwest Conference finals against Park University on Friday night at R. Marvin Owens Stadium in Columbia.
“At the beginning of the year, we weren’t sure what the level we would be at,” Cougars coach John Klein said, “We’ve reached a point where we’ve put ourselves in a terrific position. We just need to play our best soccer.”
The Cougars positive outlook has helped them make it to this point.
“We go into every single game thinking we are going to win,” Jordan Cox, a senior team co-captain, said.
That attitude has served the team well. With a record of 14-4-1 and a No. 13 ranking in the latest NAIA poll, this season as been one of the best by far in the past several years. This is especially true for the seniors on the team. Both Cox and co-captain and senior Lloyd Jacobs said this is the best season they’ve had in the past four years.
“All of the seniors are happy we are going out in the style that we are,” Jacobs said.
Cox is taking tonight’s game, and what might follow, a little more personally.
“One of my main goals is to play in nationals,” Cox said, “We are well on our way to accomplishing that goal. I want to accomplish that goal before I leave here.”
But again, it's just another game.
If the Cougars win they will play in one of the 15 games on Nov. 21 that will decide who goes to the national NAIA tournament in Fresno, California.
If the Cougars lose there is still a chance they could make it to nationals. There are five playoff spots that are reserved for teams who do not win their conference tournaments, but those are based on the team rankings. With 12 teams ahead of Columbia College, the future is uncertain.
Either way Columbia College men’s soccer team has a lot to be proud of.