Club Soccer becomes co-ed

If you talked to Justin Hegel `22 when he was a sophomore in high school and told him that he would be the president of a soccer club in college, he would probably have been awfully confused. Snappily dressed for a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting as he sits across from me, Hegel explains that it was not until the summer after sophomore year that he got into the sport, playing pickup games with his friends during his free time. Captivated, he joined his high school’s official team as a goalie for his junior year. 

Upon arriving at the College, Hegel saw club soccer as a logical way to continue his passion for the sport. While he had a great time his first year, lauding the experience as integral to building his connections on campus, he saw room for improvement. Principally, he noticed that while the club was technically listed on SGA’s website as co-ed, there were few, if any, female-identifying individuals attending practices. 

Regarding those practices, while Hegel found them indisputably fun, he thought that their organization was much more suspect. Teams took long periods of time to get organized, goals were not moved with any particular efficiency, and games tended to drag on. Luckily, Hegel would soon have an opportunity to mold the club as he saw fit.

As president, Hegel went about immediately addressing his concerns with the club. As he reflected, he “came in with the goal of establishing a well defined women’s team.” 

Thanks to the help of Sophie Cohen `22, that goal was realized. While she is technically the treasurer of the club, she oversees the women’s team while Hegel runs the men’s side as well as the club as a whole. It is a leadership structure that he says is still a work in progress. 

Hegel has also done well in improving the efficiency of practices, and the results are showing: Hegel boasted 80 attendees at the year’s inaugural practice and says he has been hitting 30-40 participants recently.

Hegel made sure to explain the structure of the club. He noted that there are weekly sessions open to anyone, splitting those practices into men’s, women’s, and co-ed. Club soccer travels on the weekend to play other teams, and the rosters for those games are selective. Hegel stressed that absolutely all skill levels are welcome at the practices. He says that the club contains both ex-varsity players and those that are completely new to soccer. 

When asked  how he would explain Club Soccer to prospective members, Hegel takes a moment to reflect. After a short pause, he states simply that his club is a “team that’s focused on inclusivity and building a love of the sport… It’s just about getting out there.” It is the second sentence that stands out. 

If you are looking to do something outside before winter lays siege to campus, why not rekindle an old passion or spark a new one at club soccer. 

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