HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Tuesday has been a day of celebration on the campus of Marshall University, and in the city of Huntington.
Monday night’s national title match by the school’s men’s soccer team made history with their championship win, and it caps a major rebuilding of the program.
The soccer team’s victory has quickly become a point of pride in Huntington.
It’s the team’s first national title, and to many, it shows there’s more to the Thundering Herd than just football.
“Yesterday was a fantastic day for Herd fans, without a doubt. To be a part of something like this is fantastic,’ says Paul Robateau, a retail store manager at Glenn’s Sporting Goods in Huntington.
The Marshall men’s soccer team’s overtime victory against the Indiana Hoosiers left herd fans everywhere with a renewed sense of pride.
“If you consider that Marshall University just won the NCAA championship in the most popular sport in the world, that’s amazing!” says Adam Dalton, who is the director of bands at Marshall University.
“They made history last night and that’s a start for this community–to get a national championship under our belt, you know?” says Andrew Taylor, a student athlete at Marshall University.
The Marshall pride and optimism is contagious, and spread across town in very tangible ways.
“Before we even opened up this morning the phone was ringing off the hook,” Robateau says.
He says the demand for newly minted championship t-shirts is sky-high.
Unfortunately, if you want that t-shirt, you’ll have to wait a bit.
“Everybody expected it be like the old days where we could print things right now, and it doesn’t work that way anymore,” Robateau says.
He says despite the stampede of fans looking to gear up, the shirts won’t be available locally until Thursday or Friday.
Others look at the win as something well beyond school pride:
“We couldn’t afford to buy publicity like this I mean on a nationwide level? We have a high response of prospective Marshall students and their families anyway, but now you know all those soccer kids are gonna be looking at Marshall—whether or not they end up at the University they’re gonna be coming through the city to do a check out,” says Tyson Compton, who is president of the Huntington Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
No matter what the long-term effects on the city may be, fans do seem to be in agreement about one thing:
“This was a huge achievement but this is just the beginning of what I think is gonna be a real soccer story here at Marshall,” Dalton says.