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Men on a Mission
Grant Wahl
February 24, 1997
The 1974 Howard University soccer team wanted to win more than an NCAA title
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February 24, 1997

Men On A Mission

The 1974 Howard University soccer team wanted to win more than an NCAA title

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Howard rolled through the regular season, outscoring its opponents 63-6. In the NCAA tournament, the Bison dispatched George Washington and Clemson before edging past Philadelphia Textile, 5-3, to reach the Final Four.

On a rainy December weekend at St. Louis's Busch Stadium, Howard slipped by Hartwick 2-1 to set up a rematch of the 1971 title game against the home team, all-white, all-American St. Louis University.

St. Louis dominated the first half, taking a 1-0 lead, while Howard equalized in the second. As the match went into overtime, the Bison took control. One Howard shot glanced off the Billikens' crossbar; another popped off the left post.

Finally, in the fourth overtime, Kenneth Ilodigwe, a Nigerian, took a crossing pass from Richard Davy, a Jamaican, and poked the ball into the goal for the 2-1 victory.

Twenty-two years later, Bain sits in his basement combing through two scrap-books of articles and photographs. These days he teaches high school Spanish, and sometimes his students show him pictures from his playing career that they have found in the school library.

"Do you know what my fondest memory is?" he says. "Seeing Lincoln in the locker room after the game." In Busch Stadium that night Phillips was crying tears of joy.

"They had taken something away that was very special," Phillips says. "And when we got it back, the burden we had been carrying was gone. There was relief."

Says Bain, "Had we lost that tournament, it would have affected the rest of our lives. We had to put something right that we felt was wrong."

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