Grand Canyon University’s men’s soccer team is 1-4-1 and has yet to play a home game in its first season in NCAA Division I. But that’s part of the road you travel when you move up from Division II.
And coach Petar Draksin isn’t complaining.
Even though Pac-12 presidents have been icy towards GCU becoming the first for-profit school in Division I athletics, the general sentiment from opposing D.I schools has been warm, Drakskin says.
One of those stops was a 2-1 loss at Pac-12 Stanford.
“They congratulate us and say, ‘You guys belong,’ ” Draksin said.
Grand Canyon’s first home game isn’t until Oct.11 against Houston Baptist at 8:15 p.m.. It will be an historic night, because it will be the first NCAA Division I men’s soccer game played in Arizona.
Draksin said it will be billed as “Youth Soccer Night” with the Arizona State Youth Soccer Association involved.
“I’d love to see a record crowd here,” Draksin said.
In the meantime, GCU still has stops at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Oct.5.
“I’ve been hearing a lot, ‘When are you guys coming home?’ ” Draksin said. “We’ll be home.”
GCU hasn’t been overwhelmed by the competition so far, just “unlucky,” as Draksin puts it.
Three of its four losses were decided by one goal, one in overtime. A 2-2 double-overtime tie was played out at Stetson in Florida.
“I’m frustrated not with the team but with luck,” Draksin said. “We have missed some great opportunities. We’re knocking on the door. We’re competing with everybody. We just have to hit the nets. Once we start scoring, things will start rolling for us.”
The Antelopes have scored a total of six goals. They lost 1-0 in sudden-death overtime to New Hampshire.
Former Chandler Hamilton goalkeeper Joshua Zehring has been spectacular in the net for GCU.
“We’ll take our bumps,” Draksin said. “We went through the same transition in Division II, going from NAIA. It’s nothing new for our program. We’ll get it going. I would worry if we were losing games 3-0 or 4-0.
“We’re not just competitive but highly competitive.”