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The Revival of Men’s Club Soccer

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Written by Ryan Denholm

Over the past few years, many freshmen matriculating at Roanoke College have been shocked to find out that despite the existence of many active club sports teams on campus, no such team existed for men’s soccer. Such a team would seemingly be one of the largest club sports teams, due to the widespread popularity of the sport. However, students looking for a way to continue playing at a non-varsity level were left with no organized option and would organize pickup games on their own. These pickup games, often played Fridays in the beloved Alumni Gym, were enormously popular and brought together students of all years and abilities. On some days, one could even show up and find Chaplain Chris or Professor Bañuelos Montes of the Spanish Department doing their best to embarrass students with fancy footwork and ball skills on par with Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo. 

To club sports director Gabby Arnold and sophomore Zach Ramassini, this absence of a men’s club soccer team represented a serious vacuum on campus. Therefore, with the assistance of junior Sebastian Salazar and freshman Jackson Ulmer, among others, the group began promoting the creation of such a team in order to gauge student interest. After generating an extensive list of interested students, club sports officially recognized the team and began scheduling practices. Despite several obstacles along the way, including the clubs sports supervisor kicking the rag-tag team of soccer enthusiasts off the bermuda grass field on Elizabeth Campus, the team came together and got enough people to show up to practices to schedule an inaugural game.

On November 16th, 2019, the guys travelled to the University of Lynchburg to take on the Hornet’s club team. The Maroons were able to put two goals on the board, including a beautiful right-footed laser beam from 20 yards out scored by vice-president Jackson Ulmer. The second goal came later when president Zach Ramassini finished a team build up with a tap in to the bottom corner of the net off an assist from Jeremy Lachowicz. However, Lynchburg was able to break through the Maroons defense and put four goals on the board during the game. “It was a pretty balanced affair the whole way through [with] sustained pressure by Roanoke for stretches of the game, but miscommunication and new teammates led to fundamental breakdowns that cost goals,” Ramassini said. While the result is not was the Maroons hoped for, a 4-2 final scoreline leaves the team with many positives to build off of moving forward. For Ramassini, this game was more about building the foundation for future growth and improvement of the team. “The club is very excited about the upcoming semester and hopes that the interest for club soccer can continue to grow and evolve,” he concludes. The team is currently planning to participate in an indoor league at the beginning of the spring semester.

If you are interested in playing men’s club soccer, reach out to mclubsoccer@roanoke.edu.

CORRECTION: Due to incorrect information supplied to the Brackety-Ack, this story should have reported that the club sports supervisor, acting on instruction from the grounds crew, denied permission for the club soccer team to use the Elizabeth Campus field. This story has been changed to reflect that information.