PROVO, Utah (Mar. 12,2016)— BYU Men’s Soccer team defeated the United Soccer League Real Monarchs 2-1 in their second scrimmage of the season on Friday, Mar. 11 at the America First Field in Sandy.
The team’s first match took place in February where they had a closed door friendly in Provo Utah. It was the first time during the new season the Cougars had the opportunity to play on a full size field, and the Monarchs took the victory.
The second match consisted of a strong turnout of spectators from each side to support their teams. The first half was filled with high energy on both sides and ended with both teams tied at zero. Coach Gilliam said they had played well defensively in the first half, and received many great looks offensively, and it was time to convert them to goals in the second half. The Cougars were able to do just that as they came out just as aggressive in the second half.
Early into the half mid fielder Pedro Vasconcellos was able to create a great feed to Ryan Botcherby allowing him to gain a step on the defender to put in a left footer bringing the score to 1-0.
Shortly after, Botcherby earned a penalty setting up a PK from Pedro Vasconcellos putting the score up to 2-0. After this second goal a very noticable sense of excitement and energy was built on the sideline for BYU.
The Monarchs were able to narrow the gap as they converted a PK towards the end of 90 minutes to bring the score to 2-1. The Monarchs came knocking back at the door several times during the finals minutes of the game, however BYU’s defense was able to hold its own and maintain the lead.
“We played really hard and it was so good to get a win. This gives us a ton of confidence and just makes us even more excited for the season,” Botcherby said. “We have already as a team been so pumped for this year and ready to get out and play tough, this really solidified the past two months of extremely hard work we have put in.”
“Last year really was hard on us, but getting a win against an opponent like this is huge for us. A win like this, this early on lets the players know they can do anything this season,” Coach Gilliam said. “Beating a USL team lets the players know that it doesn’t matter who they play, they can win. This sets us up really well for the season.”
The BYU Men’s Soccer team recently received attention internationally as they were featured in an article of a well-known British national daily newspaper, “The Guardian.” The article titled, “How the Mormon Boys of Brigham Young Take On the Semi Pro’s” received just shy of 1000 shares. The article illustrates the true story of BYU Soccer and their unique situation of being the only college soccer team in the Nation competing in the fourth-tier Professional Development League. It also puts into prospective for readers the process of recruiting for BYU and where these players come from.
“The biggest thing I have wanted coming in this year is just getting the word out. Who these players are, and what they stand for, that is goal number one. I want these players recognized for who they are, and the sacrifices they have made to get here. I want people to know that story,” Gilliam said.
The Cougars move forward next week to play Westminister on Friday night, followed by a game against Dixie State on Saturday evening. Both games will be played in Provo at South Field. Tickets may be purchase online at https://eventtickets.byu.edu/?view=page&i=byu-mens-soccer-2016 or bought at the door.