Friday’s soccer fan experience was rightfully a little awkward

The student section at the women's soccer game cheers as kickoff commences at the first-ever home soccer game in Kansas State history. (Nick Horvath | The Collegian)

Well, that was expected. Another sporting event, another triumph over the University of Kansas.

In the Kansas State soccer team’s first home game as a Division I program, K-State fans broke an attendance record for a Division I soccer game in Kansas, after 2,403 people filled the stands and sidelines. The previous record was set in 2014 by KU.

Notice how many qualifying statements went into that record.

Still, Friday’s game was in general a win for the program even if it was a loss for the team. This is a program still growing, and the fanbase will need to grow with it. People in K-State’s athletics department are no doubt wondering if the same number of people who attended Friday’s game will attend future ones at home, especially if the team continues to struggle like it has recently, having lost three straight games.

There will also be a few kinks that have to be worked out. Friday’s game included some new-program awkwardness. Though the student section was filled, most of the chants and cheers were ones common at international soccer games or at Sporting Kansas City games. Sure, the Wabash Cannonball was played at one point, but outside of that, there weren’t any traditions in place that only happen at K-State soccer games.

That’s an interesting spot to be in, both for fans and for those of us who look on from the media.

Fans who come to these final three home games have the opportunity to create new traditions. They have the chance to form the identity of the K-State soccer fanbase. That’s an interesting opportunity.

It will also be interesting to see what extra things the athletics department brings to the game, from pregame ceremonies to halftime shows. When sophomore forward Tatum Wagner scored in the second half, there were pyrotechnics but they seemed oddly timed and unexpected.

There also wasn’t an appearance by any contingent of the K-State Marching Band. If I had been there as a fan, I would have loved to have seen that.

The point I’m making here is this: K-State soccer’s first home match missed a lot of the fanfare of other sports events here at K-State. In the midst of football season, it might be easy for fans to look at what’s lacking compared to nearby, and think less of the soccer program because of it. But K-State’s football team has been around for 120 years.

At this stage of a sports program’s creation, things are supposed to be a little awkward. That’s part of the fun.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.