UR Men’s Club Soccer rests at the intersection of love for the game and commitment toward it.
By virtue of name, it offers flexibility that varsity soccer does not, while maintaining the same end-game.
It’s not without its own, somewhat unique, obligations, though. Both the time and the financial commitment demand dedication to the sport and to the team.
“Our big strength, despite our small group, is that we have a close group of guys that love being there,” Club President and junior Armen Soukiazia said. “Anyone who plays knows that people love club soccer; we have a lot of people dedicated to it.”
The team has equally pressing both on and off the field issues: finances, in particular, are a persistent concern. Currently, each game costs the club $210—up $30 from last year—and the annual budget allocated by the Students’ Association (SA) does not cover the associated costs of all the league games, including extra games, if the team qualifies for regionals.
A mix of ineffective budgeting from the club’s previous executive board and less-than-ideal funding from SA has meant that each member has had their annual dues raised from $40 to $60 to make up the difference.
“And we have other travel costs, hotel, gas, etc. that we pay out of pocket,” Soukiazia said.
The major draw of club soccer has always been its flexibility. This spring, the leadership of the team plans to make sure that rising costs don’t get in the way of that.
“[Even with high costs] we have a high turnout every year. We had 120 [players] tryout this year,” Soukiazia said. “And we have open practices for players who might not have made the team [initially] but still want a shot at being selected at some point down the road.”
“It will be long ,” Backstrom said of negotiating with SA. “But we firmly believe that club soccer should require much less of a financial commitment from our players.”
The team is two-time defending champion of their league, and has played eight league games out of a total of ten. It drew 1–1 at Syracuse University this weekend, and defeated Hamilton College 6–2 on Sunday.
“Everyone worked really hard and we won almost all the 50–50s and it was a high pressure game. When we play high pressure and up the field and to the wings, we play really well,” said Soukiazia, who scored twice against Hamilton. The team is now 6–2–2 and are eligible to compete at regionals on Oct. 29 and 30..