This week’s reading focused on the history of soccer at App State. I enjoyed reading this article because I did not know a lot of the information given about App State’s soccer history before reading this article. A quote that stood out to me was, “For whatever reason, football -not soccer- rules here. It’s as American as apple pie. And it’s what pays the bills.”

This quote definitely rings true today for App State. Football is one of the leading sports at App State today. It is very popular amongst students and is also very successful. The football team has won many bowl games in recent years and has players currently playing in the NFL. Men’s soccer, on the other hand, no longer has a team at App State. They had to stop playing during COVID and never reformed. However, this did not always ring true. 

During the 1970s and early 80s, App State had a prominent soccer program and was very successful. During this time, they won many SoCon championships and an NCAA tournament. During this time, two prominent coaches at App State were Vaughn Christian and Hank Steinbrecher. The program rose to prominence during Christian’s reign as coach through his use of recruiting. One of the reasons that App State’s program was successful during this time was because of the Nigerian Connection. App State recruited many players from Nigeria, including Thompson Usiyan. Soccer was less popular in the United States than in other countries, so in order to produce the best team, it was necessary to recruit players from other countries. 

By the early 80s, soccer’s popularity at App State had begun to decline. The university administration had plans to downsize the soccer program and turn its support to other sports that were bringing in more revenue. As football’s dominance and popularity began to increase, in 2005, the soccer team was moved from Kidd Brewer Stadium to an off-campus location at State Farm Fields, and eventually Ted Mackorell Field in Brookshire Park. In 2007, the soccer team was supposed to get a new on-campus facility. However, this never happened. App State soccer never returned to play on App State’s campus and could not achieve the success that it had during the 1970s and 80s.