By Erica Quinones
Editor in Chief
As the autumnal season hit, so too did the Intramural soccer season. Returning for the fall 2021 semester, IM soccer took back to the field for a month of recreational competition.
IM soccer’s return is ushered in by nine student teams: International FC, Ball kickers, Foul Little Hags, Founding Fathers, Waka Flockas, AA Soccer, Ferda, Wiz KhaFIFA, and Finessas.
During the regular season — which runs from Sept. 20 to Oct. 7 — teams square off twice a week, working their ways towards the playoffs.
While the games are fully recreational, that does not mean competition is not part of their DNA. With playoffs on the horizon, International FC stands with a 3-0 record; Wiz KhaFIFA follows at 3-1; with two wins, the Founding Fathers stand at 2-0, Ball kickers at 2-1, and Waka Flockas at 2-2; Ferda and Finessa both have 1-2 records; and AA Soccer and Foul Little Hags both stand at 0-3.
Captain of the Foul Little Hags and senior Patricia Woodworth decided to assemble her team because it was her last chance to play IM soccer. According to Woodworth, after playing soccer throughout high school, she wanted to take on IM her freshman year of college. But it didn’t work out.
After a year and a half off-campus, Woodworth assembled her friends, many of whom never played soccer before, to form the Foul Little Hags for fun.
“That’s why we’re doing it — just for fun, we’re not putting too much effort into that,” Woodworth said.
Playing for fun has allowed the team to enjoy themselves and get excited, especially when they scored their first goal in their second game.
IM soccer isn’t just an opportunity to have fun with friends; according to Woodworth, running around and releasing her cares has helped her relax and stop worrying about school.
“Hopefully, maybe [the team] getting a little better, but again, we’re really just focused on getting out there and playing as much as we can, having a good time, and maybe scoring a few more goals — that’d be cool,” Woodworth said.
Like the Foul Little Hags, Wacka Flocka consists of a group of close friends, including juniors Ala Day, Ethan Rose, Austin Burzynski, Victoria Allen, and is captained by junior Andrew Tran.
While the members of Wacka Flocka all know Tran, they did not all know each other before the team was created.
“I think the camaraderie that comes along with it helps as well. I mean, I’ve grown closer to them along with the rest of our team over the time that I’ve played,” Burzynski said.
The team is also connecting off the field through bonding activities like nacho night, according to Day.
But on the field, the team finds excitement in seeing their teammates improve. Day especially was ecstatic that she scored a recent assist.
Allen said that her favorite part of the season thus far is seeing the crowd come to support the teams. Rose also said that the crowd creates a great atmosphere that hypes them up.
“I remember the first time, you’re so surprised because we saw like all of our friends and so many of my sorority sisters. They had flags and it was just so fun to see them all sitting there, and they cheered us on,” Allen said.
That atmosphere mixed with camaraderie and activity also helps distract players from the stresses of school, according to Rose.
Like many other teams, Wacka Flocka is focused on having fun over competition. Although, Day said they hope to make their team’s namesake, Waka Flaka Flame, “really proud.”
Captain of International FC and junior Ameya Keshava Mallya helped continue the tradition of the international students’ IM soccer team by leading it this semester.
Keshava Mallya played for International FC his freshman year and said it was “super fun,” so he wanted other students to get that experience.
He also said that because soccer is more popular internationally than in the United States, playing IM gave international students a chance to “get that back.”
“It’s like a bonding experience for all the international students to get to know each other. We’re a few on campus, so might as well know each other, do stuff together, you know,” Keshava Mallya said.
Every team agreed that IM soccer is more about having fun than being competitive, although that did not mean they were taking “things too lightly,” as Keshava Mallya said. “I’ve never done [IM sports] before, and they’re such a good way to get involved, and I think everybody should try to play,” Allen said.
Photo by Izze Rios