Just as he had done before every other game in his collegiate career, Scott Thomsen, a junior defender for the University of Virginia’s Men’s soccer team, knelt down in front of his team’s bench and said a quick prayer before running out onto the field for warm-ups. Although he prepared himself for this game just as he had prepared himself for all of the others, this game was unlike any other because it would determine whether or not Thomsen and his teammates on UVA’s Men’s soccer team would be taking home the national championship title. With high hopes, wide eyes, and sweaty palms, the 16th seeded Virginia Cavaliers took the field to compete against the 2nd seeded UCLA Bruins in the 2014 NCAA Men’s soccer national championship final.
After 110 minutes of scoreless play, the University of Virginia Cavaliers were tied 0-0 with the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins in the NCAA Men’s soccer national championship final, which took place on December 14th. With UVA and UCLA tied at 0-0, a round of penalty kicks would decide the national champion. When asked about what advice Virginia’s head coach George Gelnovatch offered the Cavaliers before they headed into penalty kicks, Virginia’s left back defender Scott Thomsen replied, “all he said was how proud of us he was and how well we played during the game then he told us to just take a deep breath, go out there and do the best we can.” With a national championship title on the line, the stakes were high as UVA and UCLA entered into penalty kicks. Thomsen ran out onto the field, mentally preparing himself for penalty kicks by thinking about how his team had “practiced the most PKs throughout the season, so it was just repetition.” And as simply as that, the Virginia Cavaliers took the field and shot penalty kicks just as they had done over and over again in practice, leading them to defeat UCLA 4-2 in the shootout and to take home the national championship title. When asked about if at the beginning of the season he had any idea that his team would be taking home the national championship trophy, Thomsen said that the he and the Cavaliers “knew it was a good possibility that we’d be back in the college cup and take it one step forward, but it’s never a guarantee.” Although it was most definitely not guaranteed, it is safe to say that the Cavaliers did indeed take one giant step forward this season, earning the UVA Men’s soccer program its seventh national championship title along with the University of Virginia’s athletic program’s twenty-first NCAA Division I team national championship title.
When he is not on the soccer field winning national championships, Virginia’s Scott Thomsen said that you can find him supporting the other UVA athletic teams at their sporting events, hanging out with his teammates, or watching his favorite movie, Wedding Crashers. Just like many other students at the University of Virginia, Thomsen’s favorite UVA tradition is attending the annual Charlottesville horserace, known as Foxfield, which Thomsen describes as “the best time with a lot of good people.” When asked about which professional athlete he looks up to the most, Thomsen replied instantly, “Michael Jordan…. Because he was the best at what he did.” Thomsen’s pregame playlist includes his favorite pump-up songs, Blame by Calvin Harris, Money and the Power by Kid Ink, and Enjoy the Ride by Krewella.