My Favorite Sixteen Soccer Photos of 2016

This year was yet another year when it seemed like I was not able to photograph as much soccer as I would have liked to. With a few exceptions when Purdue had a game I was booked somewhere else. I had to go outside of Purdue to be able to make a list that I could be proud of from this soccer season. With only a handful of games I had to use several from each game to get to sixteen on this list. With that said I think that I have a better list than I did last year. Here are my favorite sixteen soccer images from 2016.

16. The countdown starts with a battle for the ball between Harrison and West Lafayette. This was a great game that ended in a draw. From the perspective of a neutral fan this was a great game to watch. Both teams were fighting for the win, and that made for some great photos.

15. When I was at a Purdue game late in the season I had an idea for a celebration shot. I wanted the newly minted Folk Field sign in the background. With that in mind I moved more towards the goal than I normally would go. I might miss the actual goal, but I could get this photo. I wish that I had a longer lens on me to have just focused on the pile of Purdue players with the Maryland defender sad in front. That would have been a photo that probably would have been further up this list.

14. I like capturing the moments when the possession of the ball is in doubt. Here you don’t know who will come up with the ball. The battle with the hands and the feet really make it for me.

13. One dynamic player that Purdue has is Andrea Petrina. She has a strong leg, and she creates many moments that are great to photograph. Here she really strides out to get to the ball. The gesture here was one that I liked from that day.

12. I loved this shot of the Purdue player watching the ball go into the goal while the defender lays on the ground. It was a split second moment that resulted in a Purdue goal. The actual moment of the kick was nice, but I liked this photo of the ball just before it went over the line better. 

11. Here is another shot that is all about the gesture. The body position during this header really made it for me. As I said before every possession between Harrison and West Side was contested. The players were going all out, and that made for some good photos.

10. Here is yet another photo from the Harrison game against West Side this year. When I am talking to people about nice sports photos I always rely something I once heard. If both feet are off the ground it has the ability to be a good picture. You want to show motion in your photos, and being off the ground does that. That is part of the reason I like this photo. You can really see the concentration here as the player takes the ball to the goal.

9. Here is another photo of Andrea Petrina of Purdue soccer. For some reason she just has the knack of being in many of my favorite shots from a game. Here shooting backlit allows for me to capture the grass flying as she kicks the ball as well. Many will tell you to always put the sun at your back, but in harsh light I like to have it in front of me. You can see a lot more of what is going on that way.

8. Here is a photo that is here because of just how different it is. I have photographed a few football games at Memorial Stadium, and when you are out here you are out of bounds. Of course in soccer you have a wider field. For some reason this photo just is different enough that it makes the countdown. I also like how all of the colors play together here.

7. With elimination on the line and a shootout situation to decide which team advances in the MVC Tournament Indiana State changed their goalkeeper to the senior. She made a couple of big saves on the first two shots to put the pressure on Drake after her team went up 2-0. This was that first big save that really paved the way for an Indiana State win.

6. Speaking of that Indiana State win I liked this moment long after the win was secure. After the handshakes the players met again on the field, and one of the players gave a rousing pep talk. It seems as if a lot went right here in one frame for me. I like the emotion along with the way the players are arranged. It was a great moment for the Indiana State soccer team, and I was glad to be there.

5. On my 40th birthday I made my way down to Folk Field to photograph the Purdue soccer team play Cincinnati. After a big goal I liked this frame of the Purdue celebration with the Cincy players dejected on the other side of the frame. You can truly see just what each goal means in shots like this.

4. Here is a photo from the same game above that I absolutely love. Once again Andrea Petrina makes the list. She used her big leg to score a goal against Cincinnati, and she went into a great celebration. At the time it seemed to me like she celebrated forever. When I saw the video later I realized that it was just for a moment. In the moment though I was very happy to capture this moment, and it is my favorite soccer action photo of the year.

3. One thing that I don’t think photographers do nearly enough is to get to games early. Here I arrived very early for the game because their was some great light. The photos were not for anyone else, but rather for me. I wanted to play around with the setting sun and the beautiful blue sky. You can also get a little closer to the players than you can during the game. I really like the way the colors play here as well as the long shadows coming off the players.

2. The same night as above I made this image just before the game started. The sun was in the perfect position, and it really looks great as it puts its last bit of light out onto Folk Field. The entire reason that I went to the game was to photograph the sunset, but the game was so good that I stayed until the end. I am glad that I did as Purdue had a surprise goal that I was happy to capture. This quiet moment as the teams were being introduced was a good moment as well. These new stadiums at Purdue are beautiful, but they are even more beautiful in the great last light of the day.

  1. My favorite photo of the year is this one of the Indiana State soccer team celebrating their first round MVC Tournament victory. The game went to a shootout after regulation and two overtimes could not decide it. As the team was waiting out the last kick I focused my attention to the team. As they rushed the field I was right with them. I love the raw emotion as the senior goalkeeper is mobbed by her teammates. These are the shots that keep me coming back for more, and what I hoped to see that day. I had no idea that things would turn out as good as they did though.
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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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