Club soccer team preparing for first season

Around this time last fall a group of students were in the works of creating a men’s soccer club to represent Nicholls.

This year the club is anxious to get their first full year of competition underway. Nicholls hosted its first men’s soccer game last spring after the program was discontinued in the late 1980s. As the team looks toward the future, the new soccer club hopes to bring more attention to those interested in the sport.

Intramural Recreation Director Kristen Fillmore assists with the men’s club.

“There’s more of a demand now from the student body and more of an interest in a men’s soccer program,” Fillmore said. “With a lot of the local high schools doing well & having a great international community, club soccer provides another level of competition for guys to compete.”

Club sports operate through the university, unlike varsity sports that are sanctioned by the NCAA. The team is currently without a conference and is still weighing out potential conferences to join. Until then, both scrimmages and practices will be held on the intramural fields behind the Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center. Tulane, UL-Lafayette, LSU, UNO and Xavier of New Orleans are all possible opponents for the Colonels in hopes that the team lands a conference to play in soon.

Valentin Gaja and Nnamdi Ezema are both players on the men’s club soccer team and are on the club’s board. They encourage students to try to make the informal meeting, which will be followed by a scrimmage directly afterwards.

“We are in a good position compared to last year because the interest in soccer wasn’t as big as it is now,” Ezema explained. “Because of the recent World Cup games and success of the Nicholls women’s soccer team last season, the interest in soccer in general will give the team a boost.”

Everyone is encouraged to attend the informal meeting whether they are interested in playing for the men’s team or just want to be supportive of the squad. The meeting will cover info such as practice dates and also inform those with soccer knowledge about possible volunteer coaching positions.

“All levels are welcomed to come out and give the team a try,” Ezema said. “The game is much more than just passing, by giving the team a chance I’m sure you’ll find the club and the game fun.”

Captain of last year’s team Valentin Gaja believes the team will provide a higher balance of competition and physicality.
“A lot of people watch women’s soccer because it’s more popular here. I think people who come watch the club soccer team will like men’s soccer even more because it’s more physical and faster.”

An interest meeting is scheduled for Friday August 22nd at 4 pm in the recreation center. Students must carry at least six credit hours and both undergraduate and graduate students can join the club.