Late Wednesday night, the newly created men’s club soccer second team practiced for the last time of the semester. As my teammates and I took the field, it was clear how much we enjoyed playing soccer. A year ago, many of these students would not have had the opportunity to play soccer on a regular basis.
By nature of its rigorous academic standards, it is difficult to get accepted to Georgetown. But even once a student gets to Georgetown, they still really are not fully a part of Georgetown’s campus culture. The clubs at Georgetown sometimes require applications and are often exclusive because they can only admit so many participants. The Georgetown club soccer first team had 85 students try out, but only six made the team due to roster restrictions. We made a second team to allow 28 more students to become more involved on campus.
Despite the obstacles that came along with creating the team, team president David Kotch (MSB ’17) worked tirelessly to put the group together. Last year, co-founder Jeremy Peters was cut from the men’s club soccer team as a sophomore, but he still wanted the chance to play competitive soccer with and against students of his caliber. Peters asked the first team for the email addresses of the students who got cut so he could see if they were interested in joining the second team. The team started practicing late at night and played its first game against American University.
“It began first as more of a favor to a friend. However, it’s now a very integral part of my life and something I am extremely proud of,” Kotch said.
The future of the club looked bleak as Peters planned on studying abroad in the fall, and players on the team wavered in their commitment during the summer. Kotch faced logistical issues, including purchasing equipment, talking to the school about funding for the team, setting up transportation and charging dues.
“Through communicating with the Club A guys, Zach Moore (MSB ’16) and Kenny Lahart (COL ’16), Lauren Gagliardi in the Center for Student Engagement office and Chad Heal (COL ’16) of the club sports advisory board, we were able to create something special,” Kotch said. “Each of these people were very helpful and played a huge role in the solidification of the team.”
Even with many of the operational problems out of the way, the team still faced the problem of selecting a roster.
After attending tryouts, Kotch and I decided to take about 18 new players, a risky decision given how new the team was. We thought some of the players would decide against joining the team because it was not the “A” team. However, we miscalculated the new players’ desire to just play soccer. Almost every student we asked to join the team accepted our offer.
In our first couple weeks, we struggled to determine how many players we could bring to games and which players to select.
“I should have been more clear on who would be playing in which games. There were times we had too many guys at the game and it was impossible to get everyone in. That was definitely my biggest mistake,” Kotch said.
Kotch feels he has learned a lot from this first season that he can apply moving forward.
“I learned how to manage my peers and find ways to get people more involved,” Kotch said. “I learned a lot about how to organize and find answers to questions that I initially had no clue how to solve.”
When Kotch and I talk about the team, we agree that we achieved the goal we originally set for it.
“The team really grew over the semester and it was great being able to give more students the chance to play a game that they loved. I am proud of the team, and I am very happy we were able to give these students something else to be a part of,” Kotch said.
The club soccer team was another opportunity for me to get involved on campus and get to know a great group of guys. Kotch and I worked hard to make sure that the team could succeed, and months later, our hard work has paid off. I get to continue to play the sport I began playing when I was four years old. On top of all this, I did not know what to expect from the freshmen who joined the team. Fortunately, there are a great group of guys who I have been able to get close with over the season.
It took months for Kotch to set up the team and make sure that it could succeed. Yet, his hard work paid off in many ways. Without Kotch, 28 students would not be able to play competitive soccer.
We got the chance to meet a great group of guys and continue to play the sport we love.
Nick Barton is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. More Than a Game appears every other Tuesday.
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