CCU football, soccer fans unite for Thursday’s twinbill

col-tbuzz-2Are you ready for some football, or are you ready for some futbol? Better yet, how about a double dose of soccer and football Thursday night at Coastal Carolina University? It’s a rare treat for fans of the sport regardless of the spelling or whether the ball is round or oval.

These aren’t just any two games. The Sun Belt Conference champion CCU men’s soccer team opens the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Radford, followed by what could be the CCU football team’s final meeting with rival Liberty at 7 p.m. The stakes are high and the blood is bad as Coastal squares off against former conference rivals on the pitch and gridiron.

Finding fans of both sports used to be more difficult. I know because I was one of them. Growing up in the Southeast, the heart of college football country, I didn’t like soccer. OK, so I was known to call it “kickball without bases” and made fun of the fact that a goal often occurs about as regularly as the Supermoon, but I’ve gained a real appreciation for the game.

Ironically, it took a child to school me in the finer points of the sport. My daughter, Riley, has been kicking a ball around the yard ever since she could walk and has grown up to play at the club and JV level. I’ve been on the sideline all the way, shouting incorrect instructions and rules interpretations. But I haven’t made orange slices or yelled “Good idea!”

Still, I’m more in my element around college football. The popping of pads and the passion of the fans creates an environment like nothing else I have seen, including the NFL. There’s something about the atmosphere that adds to the action on the gridiron, like the sounds of the marching band and the unmistakable “Oooohhhs” whenever a player gets his clock cleaned.

Fans on both sides of the great football/futbol debate could learn a lot about the other sport. With all the post-election talk about learning to get along with one another, what a wonderful world it would be to see football fans yelling “GOOOAAALLL!” and soccer fans using their hands to signal touchdown – all in support of CCU’s surging athletic programs. With Thursday’s forecast calling for highs in the 60s and lows in the upper 40s, it truly is perfect “football” weather. Or is it “futbol” weather?

Speaking of the climate, here’s an appeal to the Grand Strand’s  fair-weather fans (if you read this far). Remember those blistering days of June when the CCU baseball team made its red-hot run to the College World Series championship? Remember how you bought the T-shirt and hopped on the band wagon for the home team? Well now the Chanticleers need your support in the form of fans’ fannies in the seats, and you might not get another chance to see a fall doubleheader like this one.

Game-time is still TBA for the soccer game, but it will take place before the football game. It’s a good chance to tailgate and take in the twinbill. For ticket information, visit www.goccusports.com.

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