Students Shoot for Men’s Soccer Team
By Otto Campos
Soccer, or as it is known internationally, futbol, has been claimed as the “world’s sport” by Univision,
the television station that broadcasts this sport to many countries around the globe, not to mention many cities in the United States.
But Queens College, one of the most worldly schools in this country, doesn’t even have a men’s soccer team,
and hasn’t had one in fourteen years.
Junior Xavier Vasquez and other students have campaigned for Queens College to initiate a men’s varsity
soccer team, and nearly a thousand petitions have been signed by QC students who want to see this sport as
more than just a campus intramural.
Vasquez, 22, had formatted the petition and decided to start a Queens College soccer club to help advocate for
a school team. Yet, in the name and honor of the school, the group of young talented men who have a love for
the “world’s sport” have played in scrimmages against other college soccer clubs, such as St. John’s University
and Queensborough Community College. The pending soccer club has also participated in two official
tournaments, Nike Futbol and Futbolito, which have been sponsored by Radio Shack and Major League Soccer.
The team finished in second place in the last tournament that they participated in.
Still, for some soccer players on campus, the tournaments and scrimmages don’t provide enough satisfaction.
“I was disappointed that Queens College didn’t have a [men’s] soccer team,” said student Jakub Tyszka,
The director of Queens College’s athletic department, Dr. Richard Wettan, has said that Tyszka may get his wish granted at the start of his senior year. “We are planning to form a Division II [varsity] men’s soccer team by the fall semester of ‘07,” he said with a smile.
Dr. Wettan, a former Queens College men’s soccer coach in 1969-75 and a continued soccer enthusiast, has strategized a proposal for the re-initiation of a men’s soccer team in the school. The department’s plan is to form a men’s soccer club sponsored by the athletic department, and to hire an exceptional men’s soccer coach later this year. The soccer club that will be formed will then launch itself into a men’s soccer team.
“That’s great that they’re going to try to have a men’s soccer team,” said freshman Chris Solis. “I love soccer, it’s my passion. If I was to choose between my girl and soccer, I’ll choose soccer.”
However, there is a tough road ahead before the school can activate such a team. According
to Queens College regulations, as well as Title IX, a men’s athletic team can not be activated
unless another woman’s team is added on or a men’s athletic team is dismissed.
“We are not going to remove a men’s team from the school,” Dr. Wettan said. Yet, he left no
indication of what women’s athletic team would be submitted.
Vasquez said he feels Queens College should start a women’s handball team. “I know a lot
of girls who play handball right outside of the school campus and they’ll be more than
interested to join a school team,” he said.
Another issue that could ruffle the soccer playing field is the cost of a soccer team. Dr. Wettan has estimated that the men’s soccer club could cost up to $30,000. Furthermore, the expenditure of a varsity soccer team in 2007 would be about $80,000.
Still, the department’s proposal would first have to be approved by President Muyskens and other Queens College chair people before the enthusiastic soccer players could officially be called the Knights.
Queens College graduate Costas Tsimounis says that with all the international students the school has, a men’s soccer team should be the first team the school formulates. “I think they should have a [men’s] soccer team before anything else,” he stated.
Sophomore and player of the pending club Juan Pablo Orjuela said that he enjoys the sport and it would be a waste of talent and school spirit if an official team does not get formed. “We’re wasting competitive and talented abilities that [have] been proven by our success in outside tournaments,” he said.
The pending club is one of the ways that Vasquez and his schoolmates have instituted a voice for the need of a men’s soccer varsity team. On the popular networking Web site MySpace.com, Vasquez has created a special group site for students and potential prospects to voice out their desire to play in a collegiate institution. The page http://groups.myspace.com/qcsoccer has received much attention from soccer enthusiasts.
“I wanted to create an oasis for passionate soccer players like myself,” said Vasquez.
Queens College students and faculty have been working together to create an awareness of the need and want of a men’s soccer team. Anthony, a junior at QC, wonders why an internationally popular sport like soccer needs “awareness.”
“It is unfortunate that the most popular sport in the world needs ‘awareness’ in the most diverse school in New York,” he said.