Author: Julie Xu
Students are expressing more interest in intramurals, specifically in the game of soccer. This year, there are over 350 students in 500 different spots playing intramurals.
Over the last few years, the intramural soccer program at Occidental has increased in popularity significantly. When soccer was first introduced into the intramural program, only 10 teams were competing. This spring, there are about 16 teams hoping to win the Occidental Cup. “This spring, we set a deadline for team applications and there were more teams who applied for spots than we had room for. It is a great sign,” head of intramural sports Sae Woon Jo, said.
Many students who participate in intramural soccer chose not to play varsity because of the level of talent needed, work ethic required and time commitment necessary to be an NCAA Division III athlete. Intramural soccer not only gives participants the opportunity to meet a diverse group of students on campus, but it also promotes athleticism in a greater percentage of the student population. Students who are on one of the 16 teams choose when to practice and how long they practice for. “Some teams organize practices weekly, other teams don’t see each other until their matches,” Sae Woon Jo said.
Although actual soccer experience is beneficial, the players can make the game as competitive or as recreational as they want. The intramural soccer teams are divided into two groups. There is the Soccer A League, which consists of players who have had previous experience playing soccer and are generally very competitive. “I’ve played soccer since I was nine on various club teams and all throughout high school,” captain of Soccer A league team “Operation Penetration” Connor Smith (senior) said. The Soccer B League allows students who are playing for fun and leisure to engage in friendly competition while at the same time play as if they are in a real game.
Occidental gives students who are not competing in NCAA-sanctioned sports a chance to compete through intramural sports. “I have played ever since my freshman year and I love it. The fact that we even have an intramural soccer [team] at Occidental is awesome!” Smith said.
Although Occidental students compete against other Occidental students, the players take the game very seriously. Many team goals that have been presented by team members include playing better defense and offense as well as taking home the title of Occidental Intramural Soccer Champions. “I just want to ask everyone to please keep supporting Occidental intramurals. It’s a great way to stay active and engage with other students,” Smith said.
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