Soccer. Football. Futbol. Calcio.
No matter what language, what culture, what country you come from, soccer is usually a unifying force. There’s just something romantic about how the beautiful game brings people together.
Billions of people across the globe will watch a World Cup, the pinnacle of soccer on earth and its unifying of everyone who loves the sport.
Here at UTA, however, there barely seems to be a sizable soccer culture. Given the large, young and diverse population at UTA, you would think that there would be more interest in the beautiful game.
I often see students of all backgrounds wearing soccer jerseys, t-shirts and jackets on a daily basis across campus. But what is the unifying force on campus that brings the whole soccer community together?
Sure, there’s intramural soccer, both indoor and outdoor, but Campus Recreation doesn’t do enough to promote or include people who are interested in the sport. Simply put, if you don’t know about soccer at UTA, you’ll probably never even know there’s a presence here. Word of mouth only goes so far and can sometimes even exclude those who may be genuinely interested but have never had the chance to take part.
And in regards to the UTA soccer clubs, they are officially active but virtually nonexistent. A look at UTA’s sport clubs page shows the men’s and women’s clubs but lead to dead links. Plus, there is no active social media presence to get in touch with someone if you’re interested.
And this is just if you want to play. If you’re more of a fan that wants to watch and support your team, there’s little to no campus-wide effort to come out and watch in groups. Watching a game is a lot more fun if you’re doing it with friends, fellow supporters or even with rival fans. There’s always that element of fandom when watching the game in large chunks that creates a fun and memorable atmosphere.
Of course, if you prefer to watch a game on your own, that’s totally fine, too. But there’s something special about watching the game with others.
This isn’t a dig at those who already love, play and watch the sport and play FIFA with friends. Y’all are doing what you love to do. I’m calling for a bigger effort from the community that loves soccer to come together even more for big events.
Let’s create watch parties for big soccer games. Let’s create memories by watching the game we all love in a group this school has never seen. Soccer is a yearlong sport, even over the summer when international tournaments happen.
Whether it’s the MLS, a European league, the Champions League, Europa League or any other soccer competition from around the world, let’s get together and make UTA a soccer community.