The Loyola men’s soccer team (1-3-0) lost to Northwestern University 1-0 in this year’s edition of the Hustle to Hoyne, a tradition created to motivate fans about Loyola Athletics.
Hustle to Hoyne drew 913 people, including more than 600 students, according to Loyola Athletics.
Created in 2015 by the Loyola athletics department, Hustle to Hoyne has since become a tradition to kick off the new academic year. Designed to get new and returning students exposed to Loyola Athletics, the event has become an important new tradition for Loyola soccer, according to Loyola director of marketing Brian Day.
“Anytime we fill the stands and get the students behind the team it’s a more fun atmosphere both for the fans and the team itself,” Day said. “Our teams definitely feed off bigger and louder crowds and Hustle to Hoyne, the last three years we’ve done it, has been our biggest crowd of the season. It’s always great to start the season in one of our early matches with a really nice big crowd that gets behind these players.”
Day said the importance of the event is that it has created a tradition for the men’s soccer team.
“It’s important that each sport has their own unique tradition,” Day said. “That’s what it is for men’s soccer, as Hustle to Hoyne has become that main tradition to start the academic year with athletics, and we’ve seen this carry over throughout the rest of the year.”
Men’s soccer coach Neil Jones said the event is important to create a home field advantage for the Ramblers not just during the Hustle to Hoyne, but the rest of the season at Loyola Soccer Park.
“In the recent years of success for this program, it’s always been based on home crowds and home field advantage,” Jones said. “So we need to take advantage of our great field and our unique environment and make it a fortress that other team’s don’t want to come into and play against us.”
With Loyola Soccer Park’s location over a mile from campus west on Devon Avenue, Day said the event also informs Loyola students about transportation options.
“One of our major challenges with our soccer and softball programs is the field’s location being over a mile west of campus,” Day said. “So, getting the students and fans out to support at times can be challenging. So we’re always looking for different ways to energize the fan base and inform them of how to get out there to follow them later in the season,” Day said.
Day also said the distance can negatively affect game attendance, but in the case of the Hustle to Hoyne, Loyola Athletics aims to use the over one mile long walk to build excitement for the game.
“It’s become one of our more unique traditions as it’s usually pretty popular and a cool sight to see hundreds of maroon and gold flags, the band, tons of students and cheerleaders marching down Devon Avenue and there’s tons of energy once you get to the game,” Day said.
Jones said one of his biggest goals for the event was to give the fans an overall positive experience. He said this will help attendance for the rest of the season because he wants more students to return.
“This is a common thing in sports in general, they’re customers and we need to give them a good feeling as they walk out of the gates at the end of the game, saying ‘hey that was pretty fun’ and ‘I could see myself coming back to more games,”’ Jones said.
The Ramblers are scheduled to play at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Sept. 15.