Many dream of playing a varsity sport in college. However, not all are able to balance a varsity sport with the rigors of a Cornell education. Others are slightly not good enough to fulfill their dreams of playing a varsity sport. Whatever a student’s reason may be, there is a tremendous alternative in club sports.
However, for all of their hours of time and dedication to their club team, students receive little public recognition. This is before the Cornell United club soccer team stepped onto the field this year. With a mix of grad and undergrad students, the Cornell United was a force, paving its way through its competition. It compiled a 7-1-3 record and earned a berth to the National Club Championships in Austin, Texas, held at the University of Texas. The United leaves tomorrow for the upcoming weekend tournament.
The tourney is comprised of the top 16 teams in the country. Six regions were allotted two spots with four at-large bids rounding out the top 16.
Throughout the semester, the United has played in three tournaments along the East Coast. In late September, Cornell went down to Penn State, and tied its club team. PSU was 18-0-3, this season, so the tie was a huge moral victory for the team.
The team then competed in a tournament in New Hampshire, in which the United defeated Brown’s and Boston College’s club teams. Against Brown in the finals, the United scored a brilliant goal in overtime to capture the victory.
“Brown was tough opponent,” senior forward Justin Magner said. “This showed us that we could play with the best.”
The team then continued its winning ways in the middle of October, when University of Massachusetts, Penn State University’s (B) team, Colgate, and the University of Penn met in Ithaca. The United defeated a tough UMass team in the finals, 4-2.
The United are led by captains, senior Charles “Chuck” Williams and sophomore Jimmy Odierna. Grad student, Ben Yokell provides wisdom and insight for a young team comprised of 11 freshmen and sophomores.
Besides being a tight bunch of guys on the field, the team prides itself on its off-field chemistry. The team brainstormed possible ways to raise funds for its upcoming trip to Austin. Besides conventional methods, the team’s charisma sparked impromptu fund raisers. For instance, Yokell stood up in the middle of Trillium Dining to announce to the Cornell public that the United were on the Cornell sports map. Students were receptive to Yokell’s plea and provided the grad student and the United team with funds for its trip.
The team has also garnered some support from the Ithaca community during its many trips through the city. However, funding from the Intramural office coupled with outside sources is not fully able to offset the travel expenses to Austin.
The United is the first Cornell soccer club to be invited to the National Championships. It has heart, commitment and a burning desire to be crowned the national club champion.
Next time, you see a United player ranting and raving in a Cornell dining facility, understand the dedication each of these students and contribute to the squad’s trip to the national tournament.
Archived article by Jason Skolnik