05 November 2015

Catching up with Megan Rapinoe, a soccer flashback, and more

OK, so I've been a delinquent blogger lately. I've got some good excuses, but let's try to provide a brief recap:

Since my one-off return to college football in Troy with the inimitable Mickey Matthews on Sept. 12, I have called four college soccer games (one men's, three women's) with three different partners, all in different parts of the country. I've seen some great goals, a landmark win for Mississippi State (which was extra cool to see because I saw them struggle last year), and a rematch of last year's national championship game in women's soccer.

The highlight, however, had to be meeting and interviewing US women's national team star Megan Rapinoe, a woman I respect as much for her off-field public personality and leadership as for her on-field exploits. By just about all accounts, she's one of the best role models you could suggest for a niece, nephew, child, or friend. She was on hand at the Oct. 18 Portland-Santa Clara game as the Pilots celebrated their 2005 national championship team, on which she played, and joined another former Pilot, Shannon MacMillan, and me for an interview at the start of the second half.

Even more good news is that my soccer season is far from over. I just arrived in Dallas to call the American Athletic Conference women's semifinals (today, for the American Digital Network) and final (Sunday, for ESPN3/ESPNU). With the tournament being held at SMU's Westcott Field, this brings back some memories: As a student, I called Rice's trip to the 2003 WAC Tournament at the same venue, culminating in a heartbreaking, last-minute loss to SMU, then the conference's powerhouse.

I'm pretty sure those were my first soccer games called on the road, and I definitely remember some technical difficulties (note the old-school connection via phone line and an actual phone). Probably a good thing that, to my knowledge anyway, no copies of those games exist!

The four teams left in this year's field are all competitive, with UConn leading the way at No. 10 in the country, and links to watch the games can be found here.

At any rate, next weekend I will turn back to the men's game, calling the Sun Belt Conference men's tournament in the somewhat remote town of Boone, N.C., home to Appalachian State University, in what will likely close the book on my 2015 soccer season.

Much more on that later, however. For now, I'm off to watch and call some top-25 teams play elimination games with a conference title and more on the line. Not bad at all!

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