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Club soccer expands range

In their third season as a university club sport, the women’s club soccer team has, for the first season, been able to travel to Boston to play new teams from the previous years. After their recent joining of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), they were able to travel outside of the state to play six games against other schools.

Holding two practices and a conditioning session, with games played on the weekends, the women’s soccer club has experienced many challenges to get to where they are now.

“We had to go to a lot of student government meetings and fill out a lot of paperwork,” fourth-year vice president and right-midfielder Haley Williams said.

Williams, along with fourth-year president and forward Jade Baumrind, have both been members of the team since it’s inception three years ago.

“I wanted to make an actual women’s club team that would be on campus and actually travel to places. The only women’s club team there was, was a coed team with the men’s team,” Baumrind said.

On the field, they started off their first year as a club, being more of an intramural style team. Last year they had a few games within the state of Maine. This season as part of the NIRSA league they traveled out of the state to play, with more member commitment compared to previous years.

“At first, it was really rough with commitment, some people saw it more as an intramural,” Williams said.

The team not only plays on the field together but they also do team bonding and other events together, improving many facets from from previous seasons.

“This season has been a huge improvement compared to other seasons. It’s the first time in the league we’re in, we’ve gotten funds to travel, we’ve done fundraisers, we got new jackets,” Williams said. “It feels more like a team.

It’s these events along with other team bonding events that allows them to grow closer together, helping them on and off the field.

“We had little socials and pizza parties making it a more fun environment,” first-year striker Anna Kopp said.

The atmosphere and style of the team is different from typical soccer teams. For first-year students, it is not just the difference between a varsity and club sport, but also the difference between a high school and college team.

“It’s different from high school just because there aren’t cliques. It’s not high school, we’re in college, we’re all more mature,” first-year outside defender Samantha Anderson said.

The team also does not have a coach this year. In previous years, they have had a coach but this year they are self-coached. It requires them to be more of a unit, helping each other out.

“We work more as a unit and it’s more laid back. Now as the season actually gets in and we’re playing games, you have to rely on each other so we’ve built the trust playing with each other and giving each other feedback,” Kopp said.

Despite their last game having been on Oct. 16, the team continues to do things together, preparing for next season. Oct. 18 the team will have a Margaritas fundraiser to help raise money and they will continue to condition and practice together.

Finishing their first season competing outside of Maine, the team has new goal for the future.

“We wanted to not only expand our numbers but expand our interest. Make ourselves known that we are a women’s club team on campus,” Baumrind said.

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