UCLA men’s soccer finished 2016 with the fewest wins it had had in eight years. This year, eight years ballooned to 48.
The Bruins escaped the 2017 season with seven wins. The last time that happened was in 1959 – likely because UCLA only played a total of eight games that year and went 7-0-1.
If you compare this season’s winning percentage with former UCLA teams’, that 48-year gap gets even longer.
The Bruins finished the year with a winning percentage of .417 – the team’s lowest winning percentage in 69 years. In 1948, they went 2-3, which equates to a winning percentage of .400.
UCLA only played five games that year, which makes the comparison unfair. However, all that means is that there isn’t even an appropriate analog to illustrate just how badly this year’s team did.
In fact, the Bruins have never won less than nine games since they started playing at least 16 games a year.
What has happened to UCLA men’s soccer?
In a time when UCLA is locked in a duel with Stanford – the team that currently ranks third in the nation and is seeded ninth going into the NCAA Tournament – for a 114th championship win, the Cardinal are dominating the Bruins in men’s soccer.
The Bruins scored a total of 24 goals this year and allowed 33. However, that includes two five-goal blowout wins against the University of San Francisco and Oregon State.
The Cardinal, on the other hand, scored a total of 41 goals in 2017 and allowed just nine all year.
Stanford also logged 11 shutout wins. UCLA? Just four.
The Cardinal were also the only team in the Pac-12 to not have fallen out of the top 25 all season, and they finished their regular season in a prime spot to make a run at the national title.
In addition, the Cardinal captured the Pac-12 title for the fourth consecutive year in a row. The Bruins, on the other hand, didn’t even make the playoffs this year.
And Stanford isn’t the only team outdoing men’s soccer as of late. Other UCLA teams like men’s water polo, women’s soccer, men’s cross country and women’s volleyball will all make the playoffs in the 2017-18 academic year – and those are just the fall sports.
Men’s soccer has fallen off track considerably.
In addition to its performance – or lack thereof – on the field, men’s soccer was the only sport in which the Daily Bruin had difficulty getting through UCLA Athletics for postgame interviews.
This team is now a shell of the Bruin squad that just five years ago won the Pac-12. And now, more than ever, UCLA needs to compete at the highest level in every single sport if it wants that 114th national title.