Maryland men's soccer coach Sasho Cirovski likes to begin the season on the road.
The Terps have traveled to open the season in 18 of Cirovski's 25 years as head coach and haven't started a year at Ludwig Field since 2012.
This year was no different, with Maryland visiting Santa Clara on Friday and winning 4-2. The trips, which have been to California three of the last five years, give the team an early bonding experience and a quick getaway that often comes just before classes begin.
The travel also gives the Terps a reminder to appreciate their boisterous and consistent crowd at Ludwig Field. After beating Hofstra 2-0 in their home opener Monday, the Terps were more than pleased with the turnout of The Crew.
"I don't know how many fans Santa Clara had, but it doesn't really compare to our guys," defender George Campbell said. "Just the number that we get and how into it they are."
In Santa Clara, an announced crowd of 662 was in attendance to see Maryland beat the Broncos. Santa Clara's academic year is not yet underway, but the crowd was still larger than the Broncos' average attendance last year of 411.
The announced attendance for Maryland's win over Hofstra was 3,609, below last year's nation-leading average of 4,015, but good enough to be the sixth-most attended game in the country this season and putting the Terps fourth in the country in average attendance so far.
"A great crowd on a Monday night, that doesn't happen very many places in America in college soccer," Cirovski said. "Very thankful to have The Crew and all their friends show up."
The win over Hofstra extended the Terps' streak to six consecutive wins in home openers.
"I would hate being the other team, personally," forward Gordon Wild said. "You always have guys screaming at you."
For many Hofstra players, whose home crowds averaged 425 people last year, Monday's crowd was likely the largest they've ever played in front of, over 600 more than when the Pride visited the Terps in mid-October last year.
In the fourth minute, an unnecessarily rushed, awkward clearance by Pride defender Sean Nealis sailed into the back of the net for an own goal, and The Crew reacted with a burst of cheers.
Wild said he'd get distracted by the Terps crowd if he were a visiting player. But the support doesn't stop when the final whistle blows at Ludwig Field.
"We see guys on campus and they talk to us and tell us good luck," the senior said. "They're a part of our family and our team. Having them come out and just rally behind us is something that propels us to play for them and play better every single game."