Alabama shows ‘participation trophy’ from 2022 nationwide championship loss in crew cafeteria

Nick Saban
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Requirements are excessive for the Alabama Crimson Tide soccer program. For many groups, simply reaching the nationwide championship can be thought of an enormous success — however that’s actually not the case in Tuscaloosa.

Final season, Alabama made all of it the way in which to the nationwide title recreation earlier than falling to SEC rival Georgia. Regardless of the loss, Alabama didn’t stroll away empty-handed. The Crimson Tide acquired a trophy for his or her efforts within the School Soccer Playoff, however offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor Jr. says it solely serves as a reminder of what the crew failed to perform.

In a latest press convention, Ekiyor mentioned the trophy is displayed within the crew cafeteria. So far as he’s involved, that piece of {hardware} is nothing greater than a “participation trophy.”

“It is form of arduous to show the web page, you recognize?” Ekiyor mentioned. “Clearly, it was a tricky loss. Labored all 12 months to realize that objective. In a approach, we nonetheless have not turned the web page as a result of it is at all times behind our minds. I imply, in our cafeteria we bought the participation trophy from the cafeteria simply sitting there. It is a participation trophy. You made it, however you did not do something. You did not win. I would not say we totally turned the web page. There’s at all times one thing externally that motivates us, however that is all I bought to say.”

The crew has been extra type to this trophy in comparison with the one it acquired when misplaced within the nationwide championship recreation a number of years in the past. A 12 months after Alabama’s nationwide title loss to Clemson on the finish of the 2016 season, then-strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran demolished it in entrance of the gamers.

The annual expectations at Alabama are a championship, and even in a season wherein his program gained the SEC and went to the title recreation, Saban mentioned 2021 was a “rebuilding 12 months” for this system. If that was a rebuilding 12 months, that’s dangerous information for the remainder of school soccer.

Going into 2022, Alabama is as soon as once more the nationwide championship favourite, however that does not imply the roster is with none questions. CBS Sports activities’ Barrett Sallee lately broke down a number of areas that the Crimson Tide nonetheless have to shore up with the intention to end the job this fall.

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