Inside UConn’s Goal Patrol

The UConn Goal Patrol

The UConn Goal Patrol

Photo: The Tab / Amar Batra

Photo: The Tab / Amar Batra

The UConn Goal Patrol

Eamon Gara Grady, Staff Writer

When you think of UConn athletics, the first things that probably come to mind are the ultra-successful basketball teams which have won four men’s National Championships and eleven women’s NCAA championships. In addition to their unparalleled dominance, these two teams have Gampel Pavilion to call their home court. Gampel Pavilion is one of the most formidable and electric environments in college sports, and is the reason for the town of Storrs being dubbed “The College Basketball Capital of the World.”

Although these programs’ eminent success is amazing, they often overshadow another athletic program which resides just down the road on Jim Calhoun Way at Joseph J. Morrone, where on Saturday nights (as well as the occasional Tuesday and Friday), thousands of die-hard, soccer-enthused fans band together to support the elite UConn men’s soccer team that is consistently ranked in and around the top 25 in the nation.

With a great team, composed of players from as far as Senegal and France to as close as East Hartford, UConn men’s soccer is a true cultural melting pot and a team that is consistently cheered on by its ever-loyal “Goal Patrol,” which resides behind the opposition’s goal for the entire 90 minutes (and when needed, overtime).

The Goal Patrol is led on by a group of rambunctious and fun-loving students who lead cheers that power the team on. These cheers range from heckling the opposing goalkeeper on goal kicks, traditional USMNT chants such as “I Believe” and “Olé!” and hip new cheers such as the “Roller Coaster,” and the “Icelandic Viking War Chant,” which keep fans on the edge of their seats and very engaged. The Goal Patrol makes the $5 admission fee into the game even more worth it, and gives the stadium a very professional, yet welcoming vibe. 

Earlier in the season, I attended the UConn game against the University of North Florida with a few friends and was not disappointed. The game ended in a 2-2 tie and we were fully engaged with the Goal Patrol environment, despite not being UConn students.

To get the story behind the Goal Patrol, we talked to UConn sophomore Daniel Connolly. Here’s The Harbinger Q&A with Daniel, who writes about UConn sports for The UConn Blog, runs the Goal Patrol’s social media and can be found on Twitter at @DanielVConnolly.

How long have you been a part of Goal Patrol?

As a sophomore, I’ve been in Goal Patrol for two years. I joined last year because I played soccer my whole life, and while I had no intentions of playing in college, I knew I wanted to stay around it somehow. I had a friend who used to be in charge of the Goal Patrol and told me about it, and I just showed up to some early games, started getting involved in the cheers and planning of the games. Once sophomore year rolled around, I knew I would have a bigger leadership role, so I began to lead the cheers and spearhead the planning of the big games with the other leaders as well as the team and the marketing department.

What makes Goal Patrol special?

College soccer is a bit of a niche sport and there’s very few students sections like we have in the Goal Patrol where the students turn out in large numbers and really get loud and support the team. Morrone Stadium is one of the best soccer stadiums in the country because it has seating around the entire field. We stand behind the opposing keeper and try to get in his head and hope that we do so well enough to have him screw up and allow a goal or two. There’s no better soccer student section in the country.

What is your role in Goal Patrol?

I am one of the people who lead the Goal Patrol, which means starting cheers, organizing activities, meetings, and events. I also run our social media accounts and work with the team to try and promote games and give my ideas when it comes to t-shirts, scarves or different events that they want to plan. For example, we met with them to discuss marching into the game with the UConn Drum Line against Maryland.

What is your favorite cheer?

Easy. “Don’t. Touch. Dylan.” Whenever #6 Dylan Greenberg gets knocked down, I wait for it to get quiet and just scream at the top of my lungs: “HEEEEEYYYY. DON’T. TOUCH. DYLAAAAAAAN.” That’s my favorite and other people seem to like it too.

How do you promote the Goal Patrol?

It depends from game to game. We sell season tickets at the start of the season and one of the incentives to buy the tickets (besides being able to go to games) is getting a Goal Patrol scarf. Then, throughout the season, we have different [incentives] such as free food, free t-shirts, theme nights, stuff like that. We’ll also usually post about it on our social media.

What teams generate the biggest crowds?

Obviously playing the best teams helps, so for #3 Maryland on Monday we had a big crowd. But the bigger draw is really weekend versus weekday. For weekday games, we struggle to get 30 people … But on the weekends, we can get upwards of 200+ in the Goal Patrol.

What would you say to someone who says soccer is boring?

They’re not really my concern. We just want people who are interested in cheering on UConn and being a part of the Goal Patrol to show up and join us. If they don’t want to, whatever. Nobody shows up to a soccer game and says, “Oh soccer sucks.”

How involved are you with the University in creating special nights, like the game against Maryland that featured light up wigs?

We work a lot with the marketing department as well as the actual team. For example, last Sunday I hosted the UConn men’s soccer Coaches Show at Huskies Tavern where they had free food and I talked to head coach Ray Reid and two players. Maryland was more about having a top-tier team coming in and the wigs were just a giveaway we had before the game. We drew people in because it was a big game, not because of anything we gave away.

What is your personal experience with soccer?

I’ve played soccer from a very young age and played all the way through high school. I played goalie at Glastonbury High School and won a state championship my senior year in high school.

Photo: Goal Patrol Facebook Page
UConn Goal Patrol

You can find Daniel on Twitter. The UConn Goal Patrol is available on Twitter and Instagram.

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