My fellow teammates and I squeeze into four of our teammates’ cars, depending on whose turn it is in the rotation to drive. We quickly discuss the easiest way to get to West Chester University and then drive off.
Three hours of singing, laughing, and talking about what we did the night before pass by, and we finally arrive at the university. We put on our shin-guards and cleats as we prepare to warm up for the game.
Our warm-up is run by coaches Justin Rodkey and Jennifer Nichols. It usually takes us a few minutes to get serious but once that first whistle blows to start the game, we are all focused and ready to play.
This is a typical Sunday afternoon for the Bloomsburg Girl’s Club Soccer team. The club team is different from both intramurals and also the main BU soccer team. Unlike intramurals, which only consists of playing other BU students, we travel to other universities to play their club teams. We play all different colleges ranging from teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
On the less fortunate side, we are not fully funded by the school like the main BU soccer team. We pay for our own money for uniforms, soccer balls, official fees, league fees, gas money and other added expenses.
Club teams have to turn in a budget and basically apply to see if they can receive any money from the school. A committee then will decide how much money each club gets. Most students don’t understand why members of a club team like ours would spend their money to play soccer.
“Why wouldn’t you join the main team and have the school pay for all those expenses?” asks classmate Melissa Bitten. The answer to that question is simple: Playing on this club team allows students to be a part of a team and play the sport they love, but also have time for school work and a social life. Being fully committed to the main BU team takes a lot of time that some students who have jobs and a lot of work don’t have.
We practice three times a week. Our games are mostly Sunday with the exception of a few Saturdays. The practices last two hours and consist of conditioning, working out, scrimmaging each other and even sometimes scrimmaging the boy’s club team.
With the score tied 1-1 at half time, the pressure is on. Our coaches give us a pep talk and tell us what we need to work on in the second half. “Spread out, use the whole field, and work together to get this last goal,” coach Rodkey tells us. “I know you girls can do this.” Once the referee blows the whistle, coach Nichols gives us the line up, and we head back into the game.
Our coaches always do a good job of making sure that all the members of our team get playing time. The reason girls join this team is to play soccer, not to sit on the bench.
“That’s what I love about playing on this club team. No matter what your skill level is, anyone who is on the team will play every game,” club soccer member Kristen Waters says. “Everyone is equal on this team.”
Captains Meg Bostwick, Laura Owens and Chrissy McGlinn put so much time into this team, making sure we have games to play, a field to practice on and enough players.
Coaches Nichols and Rodkey are also a huge part of why this team is successful. We are so thankful for them. They wanted to help coach our team not only because we are a great group of girls, but for the love of the game.
“Everyone on this team loves to play soccer,” Bostwick said. ” It’s a passion for everyone. When we play, everyone leaves their hearts on the field.”
Not only do people not know about this club team, but the people who do, underestimate us. Our team fights to win every time and we never give up without a battle. We play aggressive and smart.
I have the ball in the center of the field and see that Mollie Erb is wide open on the right side. I pass her the ball and she takes it up to the goal. She takes a beautiful shot at the upper left corner of the goal but it hits the post and goes out of bounds. Everyone is trying their hardest, and I know we will keep shooting this ball until we get one in, no matter what.
Our team is unrecognized and unfortunately we usually get last pick when it comes to time slots for the fields or gym. We have practices late at night because it is the only time that we can get the field to play on. Although the times are not what we wish for, we always make the best out of it.
We not only have become teammates on the field but we have all become such great friends off the field. We hang out together. We go out at night with each other and even plan to have pasta parties before our games. This team not only allows us to play soccer, but also opens us up to meeting some amazing people.
Time is running out, and the second half is almost over. Kristen Waters has a breakaway down the field as she runs past a West Chester defender. She brings the ball to the corner and makes a perfect cross into the center of the box for a set up for Eileen Egan. Egan heads the ball with all her strengthen. It feels like slow motion as we all stop and stare to see if her ball will reach the net. The ball hits the upper left corner as the goalie attempts to stop it, but misses. We won the game 2-1! Everyone cheers and is so happy that our hard work has paid off once again.
This club team will continue to grow and develop. There are tryouts every fall because we can only have a limited number of girls on the roster. If you are interested in trying out for this team or have any questions, you can e-mail our coach at bloomsburgWCS@gmail.com. For recent updates on games, tournaments, an updated roster and photos of the BU girls club soccer team, please visit http://organizations.bloomu.edu/womenssoccer/.