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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Of Gaby, Cards women's soccer and just what is a Billiken? -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

2019 U 23 USA Women's National Team

Former UofL women's soccer team star Gaby Vincent and her teammates prepare for competition tonight in the Nordic Tournament tonight with an International friendly against Portugal in Philadelphia. 

Vincent, who now plays for the Utah Royals FC squad is one of 16 players from the National Women's Soccer League and the only Louisville Cardinal and Utah Royals player on the roster. 

Vincent has adjusted well, it seems, to the life of a pro. It looks to be the start of a great career for her. Her selection marks the first time she has been selected for any of the programs in the USYNT system. 

At Louisville, she made 54 appearances in games and the defender had six goals and three assists. 

Speaking of Louisville...


Louisville women's soccer puts their 2-0 record on the line tonight with a match against the St. Louis Billikens tonight in Lynn Stadium. The 7:30 p.m. match is on the ACCNX Network and features two very good squads. 

St. Louis is 1-1 on the season, with a 2-0 win over Indiana State at home and a 1-0 loss to highly regarded Notre Dame in South Bend. The ACC has five schools ranked in the top 25 in the latest polls. Neither Louisville, St. Louis nor Notre Dame are in the top 25 despite their early season success so far, but Louisville and Notre Dame are receiving votes. 

St. Louis is 9-2 all-time against the Cards. They were a perfect 9-0 when both schools were in Conference USA, but the Billikens have lost the last two when the squads faced in non-conference matchups.

St. Louis has seven starters back from the 2018 squad, including four that were selected for the A-10 preseason team and and -- in Alli Klug -- a senior defensive back, that was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. 

The Billikens were picked to win the A-10 in the conference's pre-season poll. The question we've got is...


A Billiken is a mythical good luck figure that "represents life the way it should be". 

Before he became St. Louis's mascot, he was a national sensation in the early 1900's. The Billiken was reproduced as dolls, marshmallows, piggy banks, hat pins, pickle forks, belt buckles, car hood ornaments, salt and pepper shakers -- and more.

No one is really sure when he became the St. Louis mascot. A popular myth is that he was adopted because he resembled former SLU men's basketball coach, the late Charlie Spoonhour. But, it goes back way before that...

Other rumors trace it back to an exchange between two SLU coaches -- attributed to the remark..."Well, you really have a bunch of Billikens on the field!" and the football squad was affectionately named "Bender's Billiken's" 

It was believed that buying a Billiken gave you good luck, but to receive a Billiken as a gift gave you even greater luck. 

There is a statue of a Billiken outside SLU's Chaifetz Arena and there is a student tradition of rubbing the Billiken's belly for good luck. 

And, now you know...

I've also got a great story about meeting Spoonhour in an airport years ago and our lively discussion about Coach Denny Crum and his prediction for one of his players. 

I'll share the "Tater" story with you sometime down the road, and how I ended up with a stuffed,toy Billiken. 

Let's hope the SLU WSOC squad doesn't stop off and rub the belly before heading to Louisville today...hopefully, UofL gives the Billikens a belly-ache tonight. 


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