Soccer fever takes center stage ahead of Marshall University’s bid for an NCAA national title

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — After a historic season for Marshall University’s soccer team, the thundering herd now has the chance of winning a national championship against Indiana University Monday.

But on Sunday afternoon in downtown Huntington, it took a while to find soccer fans.

One man approached by 13 News said “Soccer is not even a sport.”

At Marshall University, football has long been king, but it’s been sharing the spotlight with soccer lately as the Thundering Herd made it to the NCAA championships; an historic feat for the university and the City of Huntington.

“It’s awesome, I think this is the best Marshall team ever assembled,” said Nick Sabo, a student at Marshall.

“I didn’t know that they were this good honestly, but they beat a lot of big teams and I’m excited that Marshall is getting in the national spotlight now,” said Cameron Killmer, a medical resident.

It’s not just at Marshall University that soccer is having a revival, the sport has been growing in West Virginia during the last 10 years as more youth soccer fields are constructed throughout the tristate.

Huntington residents George and Rebecca McKoy’s two grandchildren play the game in Ashland and Huntington.

“I know we’ve had to learn more about soccer than we previously knew,” said George McKoy.

He’s hoping the Thundering Herd brings home a trophy Monday. He thinks soccer is definitely a sport.

“Those kids can really kick the ball hard and it’s not like football where you have a helmet and you have padding and everything,” said McKoy.

“Soccer is a sport; it’s the most played sport in the world and I think that it’s growing here especially with this team at Marshall a lot more people are getting into it,” said Sabo.

Killmer said soccer was his favorite sport in high school.

“I think it’s a good thing that Marshall got into the championships, I think it might make soccer a bigger deal here in West Virginia,” he said.

In preparation for Monday’s game, the southbound lane of 9th street in between 3rd and 4th Avenue in Huntington will be closed through Monday night so restaurants can host watch parties.

The match will take place in North Carolina at 8 p.m.

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