Tuesday, October 4, 2011

UTSC girl's soccer: more than just a team

Hey everyone! My name's Jessica and i'm a fourth year journalism student here at UTSC. I'm anxious to provide you with the abundance of exciting and interesting posts about our Athletics and Recreation Centre every Tuesday. Let's get right into it shall we?

It was 1996 when I tied my first pair of soccer cleats. As a skinny little, hair-always-in-knots, six-year-old girl, I ran out of my mini van with shorts that looked like baggy pants and shin pads that bulged out because my mother couldn’t find child sizes.

Despite drowning in my equipment, I smiled ear to ear as I grabbed my soccer ball and hustled onto the mini field. Running around in circles, kicking and screaming for the ball, occasionally picking dandelions near center field – I didn’t know what I was doing, but I loved the game I was playing.

That passion seemed to stick with me every summer as I signed up for another soccer season. My skills improved and dandelions were no longer being picked, rather I was playing in one of the highest levels for my age. I played competitively until I was 16 and quit due to commitment reasons.

No moment was more tragic when I had to hang up my cleats. I dreaded the summer when I couldn’t play the game I fell in love with.

Fast forward to university. UTSC had a girl’s soccer team!

I contemplated trying out, but hadn't touched a soccer ball in nearly two years. My skills had diminished and equipment definitely had a family of spiders living inside them. I was too self-conscious, scared other girls would have the proficiency in soccer that would easily surpass mine.
It wasn’t until my second year that I felt more comfortable around campus. I got used to my surroundings and classes, not to mention knew more people around UTSC.

Second year, second shot - try-outs were here again.

Being more settled into school, I gathered enough grit and the not-so-little-anymore-yet-hair-still-always-in-knots 18-year-old girl finally tried out.

At my first try-out, my nerves calmed as I saw a couple of girls from my classes. Everyone had different skill levels so I immediately felt comfortable. It made me regret not having tried out a year before.

Three try-outs later, I MADE THE TEAM!

I learned fairly quickly that all the girls on the team were incredibly friendly and the level of competition was enough to knock me back into shape.

My weekend soccer schedule included Saturday morning practices (coyotes and mosquitos commonly joining us) and Sunday afternoon games, where UTM was, and still is, our biggest competition.

While I’ve been on the team, UTM has twice beaten us in the outdoor finals.

Indoors, however, we carried home the title two years ago, beating them and other colleges around U of T for the championship and (the best part) received personalized trophies at our year-end Athletic Banquet.

The girls on the team became family. We hang out around campus as well as outside the field. The most famous outing is our annual rookie night.

Filling water bottles and carrying the team bag was not my only tasks as a newly recruited player. At my rookie night, the vets dressed me in a patchy pink and green dress with feminine products taped all around. As well, there was a list of things I had to do throughout the night.

Currently in my fourth year, I continue to play UTSC girls soccer. Between my schoolwork and reading, I look forward to practice and games every week. It’s a great chance to get your mind off of school and have a blast with an amazing group of girls.

The coach this year, Lindsay Lashley, is a former U of T varsity player. She’s young enough to relate to the girls on the team, but wise enough to know the tricks of the trade and give us pointers to help us improve our game.

For our current team status, we lost to UTM last week in our second game 1-0. We hope the next time we face them, it’ll be in the finals, ending their outdoor winning streak.

Playing on the UTSC girl’s soccer team has given me the opportunity to look forward to coming to school. Every team at UTSC takes all skill levels and it is a great way to stay connected with your friends while creating a healthy outlet for competition.

Get to know a few girls on the team…

Name: Anna Iacobucci #21
Major: History
Year: First.. Rookie..
I was verbally attacked at Frosh, which is why I joined the soccer team. Me, being alone, couldn't exactly say no. Playing is always a great time, but I also live in fear for the upcoming rookie party. What would I say to first years too intimidated about joining the team? I'm waiting for that advice myself...

Name: Cristina Muresan #5
Major: Paramedicine
Year: Second
My friend wanted me to go to the soccer tryouts with her because she didn’t want to go alone. I ended up making the team. I was reluctant to tryout initially but I’m so glad I decided to join. I enjoy the experience so much, I was excited to tryout again for indoor. I love the amazing friends I have made. All the girls are very close and we have events that we go to together that bring us closer as a team. 

Name: Alexa Suguitan #12
Major: Psychology
Year: Second
The people you meet on the team you immediately become really good friends with. Don't be scared to tryout! I've survived, you will too.

Name: Angela Kim #11
Major: Business Managment
Year: Fourth
Soccer’s my passion, I love playing the sport, I’ve played it all my life. The competitiveness and intensity is what I love most about being part of the UTSC team. The initiation involved in becoming part of the team is always fun and good for bonding. And we get to laugh at you.

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