Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Women's Club Soccer

Playing a sport at Davidson takes a certain kind of personality. It demands intricate time management, dedication, and a love for the game that will most likely end after graduation. The Davidson life is rigorous by most accounts and the demands of the athletic win/lose mentality can often be quite high. However, despite these perils, many Davidson students undertake an athletic commitment in their four years here. This commitment can range from being a scholarship athlete with year-long training and dedication to a backup on a Freshman flickerball team. Most people at this school try to understand the beauty of competition, teamwork and sportsmanship. Throughout the rest of the year, the Davidsonian sports section will periodically cover the pursuits of all of our student-athletes, from intramurals to club sports to the varsity. This week we cover the Club Soccer team.

In Davidson club sports, it is all about numbers. If a team doesn’t have enough players, they can’t have practices and they can’t play games. As would be expected, the numbers for club teams are always fluctuating depending on each particular class, who goes abroad and the relative popularity of the sport.

If that is the first criteria for having a successful club team at Davidson, then Club Soccer gets an A for the fall. In the last few seasons, the numbers have been up as the team routinely has over 20 players at any given practice. In some games this year, the team has had to field two different squads in order to allow everyone to play. While preference is given to older players and those who regularly attend practice, the philosophy of Audrey Cundari ’08, the team’s coach and captain, proclaims that this team is about having fun not finding the most talent.

“This is a place for people to just go out there and kick around,” said Cundari. “Obviously we want to compete and play good soccer, but winning isn’t our ultimate goal.”

For many Davidson girls, that philosophy is imminently appealing. The team’s makeup of players is predominantly taken from high school soccer players who decided not to compete on the Division I varsity level. However, within that group there are also former Davidson varsity players as well as girls who hadn’t played the game since middle school. The mix is diverse, but the girls make it work.

“We have an assistant coach/manager in Mark Cebul who really keeps things fun. If a certain drill isn’t working in practice, he switches things up and keeps it lively.”

Another struggle for every club team is the handling of funds. Scheduling roadtrips, buying jerseys and providing food all cost money, and the club teams have to show progress and organization in order to be approved for more moneys.

This year’s Club Soccer team has already played at Virginia Tech and has acquired new jerseys. After starting the season 1-3-1, they will host N.C. State and Wake Forest during Parents Weekend.

Ultimately, Club Soccer provides an environment for girls to still play the sport they love. The infrastructure of the program provides more reliability than any pickup game, but the players don’t have to sacrifice too much in order to gain a lot. For those girls, the game of soccer still goes on, long after they thought it had ended.

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