Men’s soccer shows promise in Spring Soccer Cup

The Demon Deacons defeat the Clemson Tigers 5-0


Courtesy of WFU Athletics

The men’s soccer team huddles on the field at Spry Stadium.

Matthew Kulynych, Staff Writer

On Sunday, April 16, Wake Forest hosted the 2023 Spring Soccer Cup finals at Spry Stadium for the second year in a row. 

The Spring Soccer Cup is an annual event in which 10 of the premier men’s college soccer programs in the country play through a pool-play season in the spring. They are then matched up for the final day against one of the other teams in the competition, with one team being named the champion based on pool play and their final game.

This year’s teams were Wake Forest, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, NC State, Virginia Tech and Clemson. The tournament is seen as a great warm up and preparation event for the upcoming Fall 2023 season, as all 10 programs look to have strong seasons. Ultimately, Georgetown defeated Pittsburgh in what was determined to be the championship match.

Based on the pool-play seeding, the Demon Deacons were matched up against the 2021 national champions, the Clemson Tigers. In the fall 2022 season, the teams met twice, each winning one game. Wake Forest defeated Clemson 6-1 back in October at Clemson, shortly after being voted as the No. 1 team in the country in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. However, in the ACC Tournament, the Tigers got their revenge, winning 2-0 at Spry Stadium, so the Demon Deacons were looking for revenge in this Spring Soccer Cup matchup. 

The Demon Deacons ended up running away with the game again, winning 5-0 and putting out a dominant performance to end the spring season. Right off the opening kickoff, sophomore striker Roald Mitchell controlled a headed pass from junior wing Colin Thomas with his chest and then proceeded to smash a half-volley over the keeper and into the top left corner from the right side of the box. Mitchell, who received a U-20 U.S. Men’s Youth National Team call-up in January, celebrated his world-class finish with a knee slide into the corner flag, and the team joined him in exuberant celebration. 

Junior fullback Jahlane Forbes found his name on the scoresheet twice in the matchup, as well. Fellow junior Hosei Kijima, returning from an injury suffered shortly after the October matchup with Clemson, made a sharp cut back at the right corner of the box, creating space away from his defender. He then played a cross along the grass to the onrushing Forbes, who tapped in for a beautifully worked goal.

In the second half, a stellar bit of buildup play between sophomores Baba Niang and Julian Kennedy led to another pretty finish for an onrushing Forbes. Niang dribbled through the middle, beating a defender and playing it forward to Kennedy. With a first time lay-off at the edge of the box, Kennedy left it for Niang, who took a touch forward, then cut past a defender onto his left. This touch fell for Forbes, who sprinted in and hit a first-time shot with his right foot around the goalkeeper and into the net.

Though Hoyas were ultimately named the winners of the Spring Soccer Cup, this was a strong preseason showing for Wake Forest. Demon Deacon fans everywhere will be hoping this performance is a sign of great things to come in the upcoming season. The Fall 2022 season ended poorly for the Demon Deacons, but this strong display in the Spring Soccer Cup will surely give a great confidence boost for the team, who will look to bring another championship back to Spry Stadium in the fall.