How Men’s Soccer Superstitions Led to a Conference Title

The fall season was a thriller for the Neumann Men’s Soccer team. Their season ended with a trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia, in a valiant hunt for the NCAA championship trophy. Here, we take a deep look into what some of the players deemed a necessity for such success. 


Beverages were a pre-game requirement for many players. Whether it was the exhilarating rush of a Reign Storm or the comforting familiarity of coffee, these liquids possessed magical meaning.  

Grad student, captain, and goalkeeper, Seth Walker swears by his peach Reign Storm, saying, "If I didn't have it, I felt off, like not totally prepared."  

Junior forward Jon Yinger depended on coffee to power his performance, saying, "It gives me that extra boost late in games."  

However, the most unusual libation came from Junior Vince Landis, who included pink Himalayan salt and baking soda in his smart water for a unique balance of superstition and hydration.  

Shin Guards 

For sophomore forward Gianni Smith, the ritual was clear: shin guards were only put on minutes before the whistle blew. While he hesitated to call it a superstition, his emphasis on the exact timing said volumes.  

"I don't really know if I would call it a superstition, but I only put them on right before the game, no … other … time," he said. 

Goose Bumps?  

Pre-game rituals took a different shape for sophomore forward Patrick Oliveira, who focused solely on goosebumps. According to him, the sensation was a sign of success.  

"Yeah, I always get goosebumps before entering the field," he professed. "This is my indication that everything will work out. I feel chills throughout every game, and if it doesn't happen, I know it's not going to be my day."  

In a sport where mental toughness is essential, Oliveira's dependence on this physical manifestation emphasizes the close tie between mind and body in the quest for wins. 

Smelling salts 

Following a trend popularized by NFL players, smelling salts made their way into Neumann's locker room, serving as a trigger for pre-game intensity.  

Walker claimed that just smelling these strong salts made him feel invincible, ready to face any challenge.  

"It would help me get fired up enough that I felt I could run through a brick wall," he said. 


In a tradition that spanned from high school to collegiate soccer, senior goalie Matt Randall swore by the strength of his “gameday underwear.” While he was unsure of its concrete effects, the psychological lift was clear.  

“I’m not sure it truly made a difference, but it was always a ‘I got my gameday underwear on, I have to do good now,’” he said revealing a deeply entrenched superstition that went beyond the soccer pitch to important life occasions such as exams and job interviews. 
These rituals, ranging from unusual beverage concoctions to the exact timing of shin guard installation, provide an insight into the soccer team's unique tapestry of superstitions. While critics may object, for these athletes, these rituals were more than just oddities. They were the unseen threads that held them together and spurred them to triumph.