Blog

Michael Eckhardt Tucson | Time to Have a Men’s Soccer Team?

Michael Eckhardt (Tucson) Asks: Is It Time for Men’s Soccer?

Michael Eckhardt (Tucson) played club rugby and soccer during his time at Arizona. He feels that with the recent successes of the men’s club soccer team, it’s time for the U of A to consider playing men’s soccer at the Pac-12 and NCAA level. Recruitment should not be an issue as Arizona and the rest of the West Coast have thousands of soccer players at the youth level.

Some of my fondest memories of the University of Arizona include playing club soccer against very good club teams from all over the West Coast. Some of the opponents we faced were Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon, San Diego State, UTEP, and USC. We also had a long-standing rivalry with Arizona State and played a home-and-away series with them. While our team was not heavily funded, we still managed to eke out victories against some of the best club teams in the same time zone. Bear Down Field, which we considered our home pitch, was always packed whenever we played.

We had a feeling that if the team kept on winning, it would be elevated to varsity-sport status soon enough. However, even as our women’s varsity soccer counterparts have been doing well in conference play, we are yet to receive news of the school recognizing the men’s club as an official collegiate team.

The Pac-12 and soccer go well together; the dry weather makes the region ideal for outdoor sports, and with soccer academies and youth teams scattered throughout the Mountain and Pacific time zones, the sport is thriving at the youth levels. However, the Pac-12 only has six men’s soccer teams, and one of them (San Diego State) is not even a regular conference member. Despite the limited number of men’s teams in the conference, Pac-12 teams have done relatively well in the College Cup. Stanford, for instance, has won the past two College Cups, and UCLA has four in its trophy cabinet. In addition, four Pac-12 teams were invited to the 2016 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.

Now that we’ve established how competitive Pac-12 men’s soccer is, I want to present the case for sponsoring men’s soccer as a varsity sport in Arizona. Since 2009, the men’s club team has been ranked in the AP Top 25 three times, and even went up to #3 in 2010. The team has amassed a 23-9-2 record in the past two seasons with two successive appearances in the Aztec Cup semifinals. While the team started the 2017 season with a 3-3 record, it is set to face FC Tucson, which plays a high level of semi-pro soccer in the competitive Premier Development League.

Sponsoring men’s soccer as an NCAA sport will help the development of the sport in the state of Arizona, where there is an active youth scene and a professional team in Phoenix Rising FC, which plays in the United Soccer League. If the Arizona athletic departments decide to elevate men’s soccer to varsity status, it will just be the second NCAA Division I team in the state after the GCU ‘Lopes.

Will we see a true men’s soccer team at the U of A, complete with scholarships, recruiting, and Division I budgets, soon? Maybe not in the next two years. But the men’s club soccer team has already built up some momentum, and it is just a matter of when, not if.

Stay tuned to this page for more updates from Michael Eckhardt (Tucson), AZ.

 

Michael Eckhardt Tucson | Allonzo Trier’s Dilemma Comes to an End

 

 

Michael Eckhardt Tucson: Allonzo Trier Returns with a Vengeance

Michael Eckhardt of Tucson is a sports blogger and an Arizona Wildcats fan. Today, he writes about the impact that Allonzo Trier has had on the team since he returned in late January.

For the longest time, Arizona Wildcats fans had been kept in the dark about the situation of star sophomore guard Allonzo Trier. While he was still on campus, he had not suited up. Rumors flew that he was suspended for a violation of team rules, but he has since been cleared by the NCAA after passing tests for a performance-enhancing drug that he unwittingly took after an injury.

Almost immediately, he made his presence known to Wildcat fans and the rest of the Pac-12. Against #3 UCLA, the 17th-ranked Wildcats silenced the raucous Pauley Pavilion crowd, scoring 96 points to the Bruins’ 85. Trier scored 12 of those points.

As the conference season moved on, Trier picked up where he left off in 2015-16. Against Stanford, he scored 22, while against USC, he scored 25 on a variety of jumpers and penetrations. At home against the Bruins, he scored a season-high 28 in a loss and closed out the regular season with 19 against Arizona State. Trier now has an average of 16.4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Not bad for someone who was in the freezer almost indefinitely.

What is the impact of Trier’s return to the team? Prior to his return, Arizona was already a good team, losing only to Butler and eventual #1 Gonzaga. With him on board, Arizona jumped from #13 in the polls to a high of #4, and has overtaken UCLA and a suddenly-resurgent Oregon team in the Pac-12 standings. More importantly, he has meshed very well with Lauri Markkanen, giving the Wildcats an inside-outside combination that only few Division I teams can match.

As Arizona goes on to the NCAA Tournament, the rest of the country should pause and take note of this kid’s play. Wherever he goes, the rest of the team goes. And we’re hoping they make it all the way to the final game in Glendale.

 

Michael Eckhardt Tucson: Looking at the Arizona Wildcats’ Big Dance Prospects

Michael Eckhardt Tucson: How Deep will the Wildcats Go?

Michael Eckhardt from Tucson considers himself one of the biggest Arizona Wildcats fans around. He has been a fan since he was a kid growing up in Tucson. Nowadays, whenever cartier bracelet price list
he’s not managing his startup or running up and down the Arizona hills, he cheers for his Wildcats, regardless of the sport. Today, he writes about the Wildcats’ chances of advancing in the NCAA Tournament.

We’re close to the ides of March, and that means only www.callingallcakes.org one thing: Selection Sunday is just around the corner! We’ve seen how the Arizona Wildcats have exceeded expectations, nabbing the #1 spot from UCLA in Pac-12 play. We’ve also seen how the return of leading scorer Allonzo Trier has given the team an offensive boost. Now, with the Pac-12 Tournament about to start, we’ll finally see which team deserves a #1 seed in the Big Dance.

The Wildcats have been in the Top 25 conversation the whole season, starting out at #10, then peaking at #4 before losing bracelets to UCLA at home. Even so, Arizona is still ranked #7 and is poised to make a deep run in the post-season.

For one, if the NCAA Tournament were to begin now, Arizona will be there as a 2-seed or a 3-seed and will likely face Bucknell in case the latter replica cartier wins the Patriot League title. Bucknell had a semi-decent non-conference record and relied a lot on the scoring of 6-10 power forward Zach Thomas. However, Bucknell is smaller across the board and Lauri Markkanen should have very little trouble on the boards.

Next up is either Minnesota or Syracuse. Syracuse has had a very inconsistent year, losing to Georgetown and St. John’s, and is not even assured of an at-large bid. Minnesota, on the other hand, has had a more solid season, placing 4th in a suddenly tepid Big Ten. Either way, Arizona should win this match up as none of their opponents have the defensive players needed to guard against Trier and Markkanen.

How will Arizona fare in the Sweet Sixteen and beyond? We won’t know until the official brackets have been announced. But still, Bear Down, Arizona!

 

Michael Eckhardt from Tucson, AZ | Blog

Michael Eckhardt from Tucson, AZ Talks About Allonzo Trier

Michael Eckhardt, from Tucson, AZ is an alumnus of the University of Arizona. Today, he wonders what’s going on with Arizona sophomore guard Allonzo Trier.

Lost amidst the noise of Arizona’s 5-0 Pac-12 start is their lack of bench depth. They cheap baseball jerseys China have six players averaging twenty-four or more minutes a game; four of them play at least thirty minutes. All of their starters score in double digits, while bench scoring has severely dropped off.

Last year’s team was a bit more balanced. The minutes were distributed a lot better, everyone got more touches, and everyone got to chip in. Leading the charge last nfl jerseys cheap year was freshman guard Allonzo Trier, who was a five-star recruit cartier bracelet price list
out of Seattle. Even after missing seven games due to a hand injury, his impact was immediate as he scored 14.8 points an outing. When he announced www.callingallcakes.org his return to Arizona for his second wholesale nhl jerseys year, the Wildcats were wholesale jersey shopstyle suddenly Pac-12 favorites.

However, he has not wholesale mlb jerseys seen action so far this season. In fact, he has not been in uniform. Coach Sean Miller says that Trier is still enrolled and is doing good academically, so at least we know he’s on campus. Plus, he’s practicing with the team. Still, what’s going on?

Early in the season, the coaching staff announced that fellow sophomore Chance Comanche had been ruled out for not maintaining his grades. However, Comanche has already played 18 games, so it’s safe to assume that his academic situation has improved. But Coach Miller has been tight-lipped about Trier’s situation, alluding instead to those “higher up the ladder” than him.

If Trier is a student in good standing and has been practicing with the team, what does wholesale nhl jerseys that mean? Is he in trouble with the law? Does cartier replica the AD have a bone to pick with him? Is it one of those weird situations where the NCAA suddenly decides to dock a student-athlete of his eligibility for the most mundane reasons?

As for now, we don’t know what exactly is going on. But as the season progresses, we could cartier love bracelet sure use Allonzo Trier’s firepower. Let’s hope we get him back cheap football jerseys from China sooner than later.

 

Michael Eckhardt of Tucson, AZ

Michael Eckhardt of Tucson, AZ Shares His Thoughts on Wildcats’ Forward, Lauri Markkanen

Michael Eckhardt, of Tucson, AZ is a big Arizona Wildcats fan. Today, he writes about the immense potential of Finnish freshman forward Lauri Markkanen.

Finland is more known for mobile phones than for basketball. However, it has a very active hoops scene which has seen players move across the Atlantic to play replica cartier love bracelet in the NCAA and even the NBA. While there are no active Finnish players in NBA rosters this season, the past years have seen the likes of Erik Murphy of the Chicago Bulls and and Hanno Mottola of the Atlanta Hawks.

But if there’s anyone who could really give Finnish basketball the second look it deserves, it might just be Arizona freshman Lauri Markkanen. Lauri is not the first in his family to play in the NCAA. His father, Pekka, played a season at Kansas before moving back to Finland. The younger Markkanen is currently averaging 16.7 points and 7.4 rebounds a game against some of the toughest teams in the NCAA, and draft pundits have tabbed him to be picked seventh or eight cartier double bracelet
in this year’s draft.

What makes Markkanen special? For starters, he stands seven feet tall. In a league with the likes of Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony cartier bracelet price list
Davis, and Giannis Antetokoumpo, Markkanen’s size alone does not set him apart. However, the kid can flat-out score from almost anywhere on the floor. He is shooting a decent 51.1% from the field and 82.5% from the charity stripe for the season. And–get this–he is shooting a whopping 46.5% from the three-point line, draining 2.2 triples a game. In January alone, he has made 12 of 19 from long range, with four each against Colorado and Arizona Sate.

Markkanen making those shots doesn’t surprise me. After bracelet replica cartier all, according to his father, the kid played guard before experiencing a growth spurt. Thus, he can put the ball on the floor, run the break, and feed the post.

He might not have the hops of Joel Embiid nor the sheer size of Kristaps Porzingis, but do you know who he resembles a lot now? Another Euro big man named Dirk.