RED BULLS ACADEMY INSIDER WITH MATT KASSEL

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Red Bulls Reader continues its new series of posts that will focus on our successful academy, specifically those Academy players competing in college this fall.  University of Maryland sophomore Matt Kassel checks in with his second installment (check out the first here).  Read more after the jump.

Well, we are officially in the midst of our season here at Maryland and as expected, it’s been an exciting one so far. Our opening weekend consisted of two intense matches starting with UCLA as the Friday night game and California on that Sunday. Anyone who came to watch witnessed some exciting soccer. Although we controlled the entire first half and the majority of the second by outshooting UCLA, 13-3, in the first period and 19-7 for the match we were unable to put the ball in the net. The atmosphere at the game was thrilling with a record sell-out crowd of 6,718. Anyone who has ever come to one of our games at Ludwig would probably agree that we have some of the greatest fans in the country! Although we ended up losing that game 2-0, we felt we played well as a team and used it as a learning experience to move forward.

We did not have much time to recover with a game on Sunday against another ranked team in California.  We came out strong in that game getting an early goal that really helped us throughout the match. Once again we dominated with shots but were not able to score. It began to rain really hard and Cal ended up tying in the 78th minute. The game ended up going into overtime and Jason Herrick was able to put the ball in the net once again after I served him a ball from the center of the field during the first overtime. We were thrilled to win that game because it was a great learning experience for our young team and proved that we could mentally remain strong in adverse conditions.

We opened up ACC play on September 11th against Boston College. We got on the board early when I was able to put the ball into the box and one of our players got their foot on the ball for the first goal.  We were able to close the game out when I took a corner kick and it got headed home to make the final score 2-0.  Our next game was a non-conference game against Duquesne on the 15th.  I opened up the scoring on a free kick and then everyone else seemed to connect that night as well, which was great. It was a big game for us as Tuesday night games are normally non-conference so it was important for us to get a good result. Obviously we were thrilled to have the opportunity for so many players to score and the final result came to 7-0.

Our first away game was against North Carolina State, which is another ranked conference team in the ACC. We always know that these games will be especially tough because the competition in this division is always intense! This was a crazy game with us going down a man in the 37th minute when one of our guys was red carded. We still seemed to control the majority of the play outshooting NC State 13-8 on the match but they were able to score against us in the 64th minute. We never gave up and continued to pressure their keeper.  We got a great goal with one minute remaining in the game to force it to overtime. The final result ended in a 1-1 tie. Although we would have loved to win, we felt good coming away with a tie being away and a man down.

Before we knew it, we were back on the field to play St. Peters in a tough Tuesday night game.  We had plenty of chances to put the ball in the back of the net but weren’t able to do so as we only scored one goal which was good enough to get a 1-0 victory that we needed.

Then came a big test for us, a rematch of the National Championship from last year as North Carolina came to College Park to play us in a nationally televised match.  The game was back and forth and got very intense as expected.  With a record-breaking crowd of nearly 7,000, the atmosphere could not be any better.  It came down to the last two minutes of the game when Kevin Tangney put the ball in the back of the net on a header that won the game for us 1-0.  Overall it’s been a good start of the season for us and we look forward to continue that the rest of the way!  It’s also good to see Richie Williams and the first team get some positive results in the last few games that I have been able to catch.  Hopefully they can keep that going too!

Alright so I’m sure you guys are sick of hearing all about just soccer and would like to know more about me off the field.  First of all, I’m a business major here at Maryland and it’s not easy! Seth Stammler can back me up on that one!  I’m currently taking an economics class and an accounting class.  My electives right now are a health class and a leadership class.  Classes here at Maryland are not usually too bad if you manage your schedule right, especially during the season.  I never have a class earlier than 11am which is very nice, unlike most of our rookies who are taking classes at 8am! I’ve been down that road before and I can tell you it’s not fun at all!  I live in an apartment on campus with four other guys on our team.  It’s a pretty sweet location and we all get along very well so it makes it a lot of fun.  We have this one kid on our team named Greg Young who is a neat freak and has everything in his room in a perfect way so my roommate, Zach MacMath and I, like to mess around with him. We do all sorts of pranks on him to annoy him (hahaha)!  So as you can tell we like to have some fun when we can.  I’m a real chill guy who likes to hang around a lot and just relax and have fun.  Mario Kart is a big hit here as well.  We try and play it as much as we can, boy does it get competitive.  So that’s my college life in a nutshell for you guys!

Talk to you guys soon as I will be back before you know it for my next blog!

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5 Responses to “RED BULLS ACADEMY INSIDER WITH MATT KASSEL”

  1. Alex Says:

    So glad to hear you guys are having another good season. Beat Duke!

  2. lou Says:

    I can’t say i wan’t you to beat duke (I’m a big dukie fan), but i hope you continue to have a great season.

  3. Go Red Bulls Says:

    Nice to hear things are going well and how things are going besides soccer good luck the rest of the way

  4. Luke Says:

    Sounds like things are going well for you and your team. The best of luck to you and keep up the good work. Go Terps!

  5. Michael Says:

    I really enjoy this feature. Keep the blogs coming!

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