Coming to you from the same balcony where I snapped this a few days ago...
FIU men's soccer team hasn't started 3-0 in one generation and two coaches. A hat trick of 0-3's since that start in 2000, but no other 3-0's such as the record FIU takes into tonight's game at Wisconsin, ranked No. 10 in the Great Lakes region (FIU received votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire South Region rankings).
"It's a different mindset (from previous years)," said forward Quentin Albrecht, scorer of four goals already this season after leading FIU with five in 2011. "We really believe in each other."
Kenny Arena's encouraging, of-course-you're-good-enough approach goes over well with the team, especially when they possess talent and can see results. Arena said, "Iv'e been pleasantly surprised by a few of our freshmen" citing Lyle Lindquist "playing out of position at left back" and freshman midfielder Patrick Ramdial, who has FIU's only non-Albrecht goal this season. And, of course, he complimented FIU's senior back line of Joe Dawkins and Anthony Hobbs.
As for Wisconsin, Arena said, "Very competitive. They've got that Midwestern culture, blue collar ethic and they're talented. I know their coach (John Trask) very well. They're organized and will be ready to play."
The Badgers are 1-2-2, defeating only Memphis 4-3. But they've been on the road for all five games. That means too jacked up about finally playing in front of their fans on one of the nation's great college party campuses or relieved to not be in places like Fort Wayne, Indiana (1-0 loss to Louisville) or Angola, Indiana (1-1 tie with Evansville).
Having U.S. National team coach Jurgen Klinsmann speak to FIU after the national team used FIU Soccer Field to practice for tonight's World Cup qualifier with Jamaica surely spurred juices, though most of the players were zygotes, toddlers or elementary schoolers during Klinsmann's peak.
"We try to find as many ways as we can to help our players grow," Arena said. "Sometimes, the greatest example is the player they aspire to be. Jurgen Klinsmann's not only a great coach, but he's probably the best forward in the history of Germany. We happen to have a good German forward (Albrecht). Moments like that could touch a player in a special way."
The women's soccer team is on a there-and-back road trip to LSU for a game tonight, then returns home to face Idaho on Sunday. LSU's ranked No. 6 in the South Region. FIU, 2-2, lost to Florida Gulf Coast and national No. 24 Florida last weekend.