Men’s Soccer set to face DeKalb County United in Friendly

By Marcel Carrasco

DeKALB — Spring soccer will come to an end 7 p.m. Friday when the men’s soccer team faces DeKalb County United at the NIU Soccer and Track and Field Complex.

The friendly will be the first match between the teams. NIU is coming off an eight-win season while going 4-2-1 at home, including a 2-1 home victory over eventual 2019 NCAA Men’s Division I Soccer Championship runner-up Akron University.

The Huskies are undefeated this spring with a 3-0-1 record that will conclude against their same-county counterparts. Head Coach Ryan Swan told NIU Athletics this match has been in the making since the founding of DeKalb County United.

“I think there has been a good relationship between us and DeKalb County United since the beginning of [its] club, and this [match] is a natural progression,” Swan said. “I said last week that we are passing the soccer baton from our [spring] season coming to an end and their season starting. They have done a great job promoting the game of soccer and getting the community involved, and this will be a fun evening for everyone involved.”

DeKalb County United will open against NIU before continuing its second season as a team when it plays the Cedar Rapids Inferno May 4.

DeKalb County plays in the United Premier Soccer League, a semi-professional soccer league in North America including men’s, youth and women’s leagues.

Swan said he has high hopes for the match and possible future contests.

“I hope this becomes an annual thing,” Swan said. “They have done a great job bringing in some local talent as well as guys from a little further afield. I think we will always have a working relationship between the two programs, but hopefully this becomes a little bit of a rivalry as well — something we can build toward and that people can get excited about.”

The Huskies finished the 2018 season with a 8-9-1 record, a team high since the 2011 season when they finished 15-6. That same year was the Huskies’ last winning year.

Swan said while the match is friendly, his players will look to take advantage of their opportunity to play in front of their coaches for the last time before fall.

“We talked at training today about it being our final week, so as we head towards the fall this is their last chance to get out in front of the coaching staff and fight for places for the fall,” Swan said. “For us, we will be looking for that progression, but I think it will be a fun evening, and hopefully some good soccer played as well.”