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First of all, I don’t care what you call it: football, soccer or fútbol, it makes no difference to me. I live in America, so I call it soccer — deal with it. Soccer has been a part of my life ever since I can remember; however, since I have come to UR, soccer and I have grown apart, and I miss it every day. I just can’t find the right group of people that share my unique passion for a special style of the sport.

My family has dozens of the dreaded “photo day” pictures from recreational (Rec) soccer, where a bunch of us six-year-old kids posed together in jerseys meant for Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. My younger brother Traynor and I grew up playing Rec, and ultimately we both played travel soccer for our town, Londonderry, N.H., until about seventh or eighth grade.

I definitely had the most fun playing in high school. I had given up travel soccer and picked up indoor soccer. Boy, indoor was the best. It was more of the soccer style that I enjoyed. I could pull off all of the tricks and skills that I loved in an enclosed environment where my opponents had nowhere to run.

You see, I’m not your average soccer player. I prefer to skill my way past the defense and deke the keeper than simply blast a shot from long range and hope for the best. Don’t get me wrong, I can laser a free kick into the top corner with the best of them, but goals seem to be worth more when they follow a bit of individual skill.

At my high school, I formed a group called the Gym Soccer Club with a few friends, which proved to be the perfect outlet for my soccer addiction.

Every day during high school, we would get a 25-minute break after the first few classes in the morning, and the gym was always open. All my friends and I would take our loafers off and play some 5v5 soccer in the gym, sliding around in our socks. By playing in our socks, which provided little to no traction on the hardwood floor, we were forced to rely on ball control, skills and passing rather than a quick and aggressive style of play.

We never kept score — it was all about stringing together a bunch of skills, tricks and flicks which eventually resulted in some sort of back-heel into an open net.

The guys of Gym Soccer Club were a different breed of soccer players. When we decided to make an indoor team just for fun, that’s exactly what it turned out to be. All of us played for style points, not goals. That is what set us apart.

We would try to score from the kick off, do bicycle kicks even though they were banned in the league because they were “too dangerous and we could break our necks,” we would run on the walls to get around people and we would even do cartwheels to block opponents’ shots.

Most importantly, whenever we pulled off something incredible, regardless of what was happening, we would go over to the bench to join the raucous celebration. Sure, we let in a few goals from celebrating, but it didn’t matter because style points win games, not goals.

Now, I’m three years into college and suffering from severe soccer withdrawal. I never had the urge to play soccer for UR because it really isn’t my style. I can’t wait to find a place and group of people that share my passion like the Gym Soccer Club members did.

I’m tired of telling everyone I play freestyle soccer; I want to live it again. So if you, or any of your friends want to grab a ball and skill around in the gym, give me a call because I’m always ready.

Gauthier is a member of the class of 2014.



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