TAMPA – Over the past two seasons, South Florida’s mens soccer team has made their home turf at the USF Soccer Stadium one of the toughest places to play in college soccer. In fact, it’s been almost two years since the Bulls last lost at home, a 2-1 loss to then No.2 Connecticut on September 21, 2007.
Since then, the Bulls have gone on a 20-game undefeated streak at home, a run they hope to continue when they face Marquette on Friday night.
“We don’t want to lose here,” goalkeeper Jeff Attinella said. “This is our field, no-one wants to get beat on their home field, and we take great pride in trying to play our best here. We try to play our best everywhere, but especially at home, we want to do as well as we can here.”
Until it was mentioned to him on Wednesday, though, Bulls coach George Kiefer said he hadn’t been aware of the run the Bulls had been on.
“You’re the second guy today to talk to me about a home record,” Kiefer said. ”I wasn’t aware of it, and to us, it’s the Marquette game, that’s the focus.”
SAFE HANDS: Attinella was pleased to have been named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week and to the TopDrawerSoccer.com national college team of the week, but was quick to pay tribute to his back four who he believes are just as worthy of recognition.
“It’s pretty cool,” Attinella said. “I think it’s really a big credit to our defense, honestly. Our defense has really played well the past three games, and that’s a big reason why we’ve been getting shutouts.”
Attinella only had to make five saves in a pair of shutouts against Valparaiso and Virginia Tech.
“It’s definitely a team award,” Attinella said. “Against Virginia Tech we faced 19 corners, and we were able to keep them out of the net, so that’s a huge team effort there, a big credit to everybody.”
CHAMPIONS LESSONS: If you’re looking for Kiefer, or many of his players, on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon in the upcoming months, you’ll probably find them in front of a television.
That’s because most of them will be tuned into the UEFA Champions League games on Fox Soccer Channel or FSN Florida.
“They follow it like you wouldn’t believe,” Kiefer said. “I’m constantly recording games, I love it. Just the environment of each game and the speed of it, it’s exciting to watch.”
Kiefer adds that he and his players learn from watching games, and the Champions League allows him to use high-profile teams and players to illustrate points he makes when out on the practice field.
“You can paint a picture, ‘watch this game, and watch guys on Chelsea make mistakes’,” Kiefer said. “Sometimes as a college player, you make mistakes, you put your head down. We’re all going to make errors on the field, so watch a guy getting paid $10 million make a mistake and watch how he reacts to it. If a guy making $10 million makes a mistake, I think you can make a mistake. The game is quick and there’s no time to put your head down or think about the last play.”