When looking at DU’s top 20 men’s soccer schedule, you may have glossed over DU first regular season opponent, Air Force. Because Air Force is a local non-conference foe, DU’s fall athletic teams have to play the Cadets early in the season. DU’s opening season match is this Saturday at the Academy.
The Pioneers better be prepared because the Zoomies will be waiting. Early season matches against the Falcons can lead to hard-fought and sometimes unexpected losses.
As we have said in the past, this is the absolute worst time of the year to play Air Force. DU, with limited practice time, will be going up against an extremely well-conditioned team with a high IQ and big-time work ethic. Early in the season, before DU jells, is the perfect time for Air Force to surprise DU. You can bet that Coach Jamie Franks has laid this same case out to his Pioneers.
A typical weekday for cadets is extremely busy – 6:00 a.m. wake-up, breakfast, classes, lunch, military training time, more classes, intercollegiate or intramural sports, dinner and academic call to quarters until lights out at 10:45. Cadets awake the next morning to begin the cycle again.
After the academic year is over, cadets participate in summer programs which are divided into three-week periods. They complete programs like Expeditionary Survival and Evasion Training (ESET), jump, soaring, cultural immersions and Operation Air Force (OpsAF). So, essentially this team is bonded by many common experiences already.
They were 7-9-1 last year with a narrow 1-0 loss to powerhouse Denver in an exhibition. And don’t forget, DU’s Frozen Four hockey team from last year dropped a 5-4 OT decision early in their season last year at tiny Clune Arena in the Springs.
Their motto: “Aim High…Fly to Win”.
However the match turns out, you can bet it will not be an easy go for the Pioneers.