Get the missing posters ready, our campus is missing important events for the second consecutive year. Hang the signs from every telephone pole, put them on every tack board in every building. Heck, let's start serving milk cartons at D-Hall so we can put the message there as well.
What's missing from this campus is soccer. For the second year in a row, the men's and women's teams are forced to play their "home" games at Ukrop Park, which, according to MapQuest, is 20 minutes away from campus. Prior to that, home games were actually home at the then-First Market Stadium (which has since been expanded to the E. Claiborne Robins Stadium).
From my viewpoint, it looks like soccer was kicked off campus to make room for football. That's not to say that I'm upset that football has a new stadium. I'm actually very excited for the Sept. 18 opening of the stadium. I have a feeling that I'm not alone with this sentiment and that more people would rather have football games on campus than soccer games. But that doesn't mean we should just forget about soccer.
Look at all the attention the U.S. team got during the past World Cup. For those two weeks in June there were live reports every day from South Africa about what the team was doing. Large crowds gathered in homes and sports bars across the country on game days to watch America play.
To be fair, Richmond soccer is not the same as U.S. soccer. The men's team has had only one winning season during the past six years and the women's team has consistently been in the middle of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
But this could be the year that both teams climb to the upper tier of A-10 teams. The women's team has 17 freshmen and sophomores on its roster and the men's team is playing its second season under coach Clint Peay. The revamping of the rosters could be exactly what the teams need.
But with soccer off campus, will anybody know if either the men's or women's team is successful this year? The average attendance for a men's home game last year was 179, which was down from 507 during 2007.
In December 2008, Jeff Gettler, the men's coach for 14 years, resigned amid some speculation that he was asked to leave. While interviewing a player for that story, this player called out the athletic department for not caring about soccer. At the time, I found that comment strange. But now, I can see how the player could feel that way.
It's like the athletic department is trying to hide the program by putting it off campus for an extended time. It was understandable that the teams played off campus last year with construction on the stadium, but why can't they play on campus this year? It may not be completely done, but that didn't prevent the football team from allowing some fans to sit in the stands during the scrimmage I saw this weekend.
I can only hope that this is the last year the teams are forced to play off campus. On a personal level, I would like to see a true home soccer game before I graduate in two years. The first time I rooted on the Spiders as a student was at a women's game against Virginia Commonwealth University. The first game I covered for The Collegian was a men's game against VCU. Soccer has been a big part of my Richmond experience. It may not be a money-generating sport for the athletic department, but with all the time and effort the players and coaches put into the sport, they deserve to be recognized by the students.
After all, if a Landon-Donovan-goal-against-Algeria-esque moment happens and no one sees it, does it really count?
Contact online sports editor Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org