Kicking into a Bright Future
The men's soccer team is one of more than 30 club sports at Mizzou. They've only played competitive for a couple of seasons, but thanks to a talent rich state and some interesting characters, this group is enjoying soccer success. What does it take to start a soccer team? A ball, a goal, and an activity fair at Mizzou.
Brandon Butcher explained that they, "got about 50-60 people to try out and from that point on it took a lot of work, but it gradually grew to what it is now," a club team.
Austin added that they are, "no different from a debate club or a band club. We're just a sport club."
"Just" doesn't do them justice. The team is undefeated on the season, 12-0-1, are regional champions, and qualified for the national club championships. They have done all this, and they don't have a coach.
"Not having a coach sometimes, there are sometimes conflicts with what position we're playing, but it's usually in good fun. We'll start one guy one day and the next guy the next," said Andy Hannigan.
"Nobody breathing down your neck saying oh that's awful and yelling at you. So it's nice to have some fun out here," added Kyle Forthaus.
They don't have a coach, but they do have something you need to watch out for, Andy Hannigan. He is 6-foot-3, 2-hundred-15 pounds, and called "the animal," we're talking about animal from the muppets.
"They say I play like an animal. A little more aggressive, and a little more intensity than most people," explained Andy.
Butcher added, "You look at him and he should not be playing soccer. He should be playing football. He's a good player and I think he's one of those players that just keeps a team light."
"There's no other way to put it. He brings a lot of intensity to the team. He's a fighter and a scraper," said Kurt Austin.
After winning the regional championship last year, the goal is now kicking down the door on the national tournament.
"Coming back this year and knowing what we're getting into. I honestly think we're the team to beat," said Forthaus.
"I think we have a really good chance of winning nationals. A little bit of circumstance, a little bit of talent and little bit of luck. Who knows," said Animal.
The Tigers play in Tempe, Arizona at the National Club Soccer Championships starting November 16th. The past two championships belong to Big 12 teams, Texas A&M and then Colorado won the title last season. The University helps them out with some money and a place to practice.