ST. LOUIS – One of the most storied rivalries in NCAA soccer will be renewed this season when Saint Louis University and SIUE meet on Friday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. at SLU's Robert R. Hermann Stadium.
The teams will be playing for the Joseph Carenza Sr. Perpetual Trophy, also known as the Bronze Boot. Beginning in 1971 and played almost annually through 1998, the Bronze Boot matchups between the Billikens and Cougars set NCAA attendance records and featured some of the most exciting soccer games in the NCAA.
"We are excited to reestablish the Bronze Boot game between SLU and SIUE," said SLU Head Coach Kevin Kalish, who played in Bronze Boot games in 1997 and 1998 as a member of the Billikens. "One of our objectives as a program is to build community and we believe this match is good for St. Louis, our soccer community and the overall student-athlete experience. We have a tremendous respect for SIUE and what they represent as a program and look forward to many exciting games in the future for all St. Louis soccer fans."
"We’re honored and excited to take part in this game, for what it means to SIUE and to the soccer community in St. Louis," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "It’s a historic event; we’re reestablishing one of the greatest college soccer rivalries that ever existed."
While the series between the Billikens and Cougars began in the 1960s, it wasn't until the 1971 game, at SLU, that the teams played for the Bronze Boot. In 1972, the series shifted to Busch Stadium II in downtown St. Louis, where it was played annually before moving back to campus sites in 1986.
In the 1970s, the Billikens and Cougars were two of the most prominent programs in collegiate soccer, routinely making the NCAA Tournament field. Three of the Billikens' 10 NCAA championships came during the 1970s, while SIUE captured the 1979 national title.
Soccer fans came out in droves for the Bronze Boot matchups. In fact, the largest crowd in NCAA history was a Bronze Boot affair, when 22,512 saw the Billikens and Cougars play at Busch Stadium on Oct. 30, 1980. The game drew 20,112 in 1973, which at the time was an NCAA record.
The series lasted until the late 1990s before NCAA scheduling regulations brought an end to the regular-season competition. SIUE's recent move to the NCAA Division I level has allowed for the resumption of the regular-season series. Saint Louis owns a 21-5-1 lead in the Bronze Boot and has won 15 games in a row.
Saint Louis finished 7-9-1 in 2017 and is entering its first season under Kalish. SIUE went 7-10-1 last season and is just two years removed from an NCAA third-round appearance.
Tickets for the Bronze Boot game are $10 and can be purchased by contacting the Billiken Ticket Office at 314-977-4SLU. All SLU and SIUE men's soccer alumni will also be invited to a pregame reception. More information on that event will be released in the coming weeks.