Club soccer makes do with limited resources

The men’s soccer club’s goal is to enjoy the game and grow as players and individuals, senior goalkeeper and club captain Alex Perkins said.

Club Sports Coordinator Leon Lifschutz said that the club used to be a part of a New England league, but now they play in Region I of a National League, which belongs to the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association. The team’s objective, Lifschutz said, is to make the regionals each season, which they have been consistent in achieving during his eight years in the position. There are significant differences between club and varsity soccer, such as the level of commitment required and available resources, Lifschutz said. 

“It gives people more time to do other things and focus on school,” Perkins said. “But it also maintains that competitive aspect that we like.” UVM funds all SGA recognized club sports, including men’s soccer, but Perkins said they also had to organize several fundraisers. These fundraisers have usually been soccer-related, like FIFA video game tournaments and 3-on-3 soccer tournaments. Other funding has come from playing against local clubs, as well as donations from alumni. These funds have helped the team go from playing no games just three years ago, to playing four games this season, Perkins said.

 

Although club soccer has fewer resources such as space for practice and a limited number of games, its members are making the most of this experience, Lifschutz said.

Junior center-back Alex Romac recalls his favorite moment on the team. “It was definitely the regionals during my first year. It was an eight-hour trip to Pennsylvania, only about two and a half months after college had started.” Romac said. “We spent a lot of time as a team, and we played a bunch of good teams.”

The fan turnout is not necessarily the same as it is for the varsity team. Both Perkins and Romac believe that they draw a good number of fans, and more would be even better, they say.

“I would like to see the fan base grow,” junior left-back Dave Landay said. “It would be cool to see as many people come to our games as they do to varsity games. But it doesn’t really matter to me. Honestly, I just like playing.”

There are some benefits of being a club player rather than varsity, Lifschutz said. “Flexibility and student leadership are two of the biggest advantages club players have when compared to varsity athletes,” he said. Because varsity sports require a greater time commitment, many athletes choose club sports.  This allows them to get involved in more activities, he said. Leadership skills are also improved, as club athletes make many decisions themselves and organize games and events, Perkins said.

In the end, though, the love of the sport is what brings the club together. “We’re a group of competitive soccer players who love playing soccer,” senior forward Sam Raszka said.