The men’s soccer team is on a roll, and coaches around the country are beginning to notice.
FIU is undefeated through 12 matches. The Panthers have the third-best offense in the U.S., averaging nearly three goals per match. The United Soccer Coaches Poll ranks them as the No. 15 team in the country.
And the Panthers are defeating big time opponents. They toppled No. 16 Kentucky in an important Conference USA win on Sunday night. Prior to then, Kentucky had not lost a regular season match at home in nearly two years.
If the Panthers win or tie their next four matches, they will log their second undefeated regular season in three years.
Head coach Kevin Nylen is not surprised by his team's record.
“If you look at the history of this [university], there’s only one team that’s won a national championship. That’s men’s soccer. We have two of them,” Nylen said.
Inigo Sagarduy, a midfielder pursuing his master’s in finance, is not afraid of the national attention either.
“The national ranking is kind of a nice recognition for us, but it really has no value until the last one. You can have 45 minutes that are terrible, and that messes up your whole ranking. For us, it’s just about taking care of business on the field, every play and every game,” Sagarduy said.
The Panthers will face another nationally-ranked Conference USA opponent on Friday night when No. 5 Charlotte comes to Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Students can attend the game for free.