With soccer on the rise in the whole of the United States, South Carolina can be quickly left in the dust. With the lack of an MLS side within a 500 mile radius, soccer is not seeming like a priority to most sports fans in South Carolina. But then again, we should take a closer look. Where is the goldmine for soccer in the Palmetto State?
Colleges. The state has had some of the most prominent programs in the South. Many of the colleges have had players that went on to play at a professional level, not only in the U.S., but in Europe. The University of South Carolina has had former U.S. national team players Clint Mathis, Josh Wolff, and the backup keeper to Tim Howard, Brad Guzan. Clemson University, has current U.S. national team players, defender Oguchi Onyewu and midfielder, Stuart Holden. Furman University had two players that were on the United States World Cup Roster in Clint Dempsey and Ricardo Clark.
Though many of the college sides in SC have had a down time in the late 2000's, this year was a solid one for college soccer in the state. South Carolina won the Conference USA championship for the first time since 2005 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Furman lost to UNC Greensboro in the Southern Conference Championship. The College of Charleston attained an at large bid to the NCAA tournament and lost to eventual runners up, Louisville, in the second round. Clemson had a mediocre season, with the highlight being a win over 18th ranked Duke.
As soccer grows in South Carolina, an integral part is college soccer. Most European nations do not have intercollegiate soccer and it could be special part of American soccer that the Palmetto State has the ability to dominate.