MUSOCCROWD

A record crowd cheers as the Marshall University soccer team takes on the West Virginia Mountaineers in a second-round NCAA tournament game on Sunday in Huntington.

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

We serve no opinion before its time.

n Is West Virginia turning into a soccer state?

Uh, no.

Some soccer aficionados who are swept up in the giddiness of the Marshall University and West Virginia University men’s teams both winning their respective conference championships and advancing to NCAA Tournament play would like to think so.

Marshall defeating the Mountaineers, 2-1, on Sunday before a sellout crowd at the Hoops Family Field in Huntington merely threw more kindling on the fervor.

The fact that the Thundering Herd is advancing to the Sweet 16 merely adds more devotees to the “Soccer fever – catch it!” credo.

They are riding the soccer wave.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. That’s what sports are supposed to be all about. But it doesn’t mean parking your perspective at the curb and taking flights of fancy.

Which leads us back to West Virginia turning into a soccer state.

It’s not.

If it were there would be more state natives on the Marshall and WVU rosters. Instead, there are two West Virginians among the Herd’s 29 players and another two listed on the Mountaineers’ 28-man roster.

That’s four out of 57 players.

The truth of the matter is 16 of Marshall’s 29 players aren’t even from the United States, much less West Virginia. The Mountaineers’ ratio is a bit lower with eight of 28 players hailing from foreign countries.

But the point is obvious.

Marshall has seven players from Brazil, three from Germany, two from England and one each from Spain, Canada, New Zealand and Ghana. WVU counters with four from Spain along with one from England, Germany, Trinidad and Japan.

By comparison, Marshall’s other male sports have a higher percentage of in-state athletes. The Herd’s football roster includes 14 state natives, cross country has nine, basketball five, baseball two and golf two.

Meanwhile in Morgantown, WVU’s other male sports also boast a higher ratio of West Virginia natives. The Mountaineers’ football roster includes 28 natives, wrestling has eight, basketball four, baseball four, swimming and diving one and golf zero.

As for the West Virginians who are on the MU and WVU soccer rosters, all four are underclassmen. Marshall has Justin Jun, a redshirt freshman from Charleston, and Collin Mocyunas, redshirt sophomore from – ready for this? – Morgantown.

As for WVU, it has freshman Joseph Biafora from University High in Morgantown and Sam Morgan, a freshman from Charles Town.

The obvious hope is the number of state natives playing at West Virginia’s only two NCAA Division I soccer programs will increase in the future. But are the numbers going to take off on a meteoric rise signifying West Virginia has turned into a soccer state?

No way.

Anyone who believes that should take my advice and quit hitting so many headers.

n A Marshall football players reunion in Charlotte?

Huh?

Strange and, perhaps, sad, but true.

Players from the Thundering Herd’s 1996 through 2001 teams actually got together for a reunion last Saturday during Marshall’s game against the Charlotte 49ers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The obvious question is why would former Herd players have a reunion at the site of a Marshall road game?

There’s also an obvious answer.

It’s because former Marshall players don’t feel comfortable having reunions at home games in Huntington.

This problem needs to be corrected.