By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – If you are a frequent visitor to the SEC Digital Network, you know that the project I have been immersed in for the past month is called SEC Soccer At 20, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of soccer in the Southeastern Conference.
It’s pretty amazing to think of what has happened in SEC soccer over a short period of two decades. During that time, the SEC has won an NCAA Championship [Florida, 1998], league players have earned 47 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America honors and six former SEC athletes have made 10 Olympic appearances, just to name a few accolades.
The series centers around 20 feature stories leading up to the SEC Soccer Tournament to help tell the history of the sport in this conference. Fourteen of those stories will focus on a great player or a great moment from the history of each of the SEC’s 14 institutions.
Eleven stories have run so far and they are all remarkable in their own way. Be sure to check out each story, which is linked in the table below:
The stories talk of toughness, determination and perseverance on the soccer field, but they also focus on student-athletes who are highly dedicated to their academics and their communities. They are student-athletes who have gone on to a variety of different careers including: professional soccer player, soccer coach, sport administrator, physical therapist and speech pathologist.
The SEC Soccer Tournament is scheduled to take place Oct. 29-Nov. 4 this year at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. The event is a showcase of current and future stars. Just think, two of the players on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team that won the gold medal in London this past summer once competed in the SEC soccer tournament.
One of the game’s greatest professional players at present time, Abby Wambach, played for Florida, winning a national championship in 1998 and competing in the SEC Soccer Tournament. Wambach, a two-time Olympian, currently ranks as the second-highest all-time goal scorer for the U.S. Women’s National Team, behind only Mia Hamm.
These are the types of athletes you have an opportunity to witness at the SEC Soccer Tournament. Take a look back at the 20-year history of soccer in the SEC each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the SEC Digital Network. And look ahead to the future of SEC soccer at the SEC Tournament in just a few weeks. For more information on the 2012 SEC Soccer Tournament, click here: http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/SECSPORTS/CHAMPIONSHIPS/2012SoccerChampionship.aspx
SEC Soccer By The Numbers
1: NCAA Championship [Florida, 1998]
2: NCAA Final Four Appearances
6: Former SEC Soccer Players Have Made 10 Olympic Appearances
8: SEC Teams Made NCAA Tournament Appearances In 2011, A League-Record
33: NSCAA Final Top-25 Finishes
47: NSCAA All-Americans
73: NCAA Tournament Appearances
88: NSCAA/adidas College Team Academic Awards