NU men’s club soccer team builds camaraderie, focuses on recruiting


Courtesy of Nick Guiang

The men’s club soccer team at regionals last year. The team is hoping to compete this spring after a year of restricted practices.

Rebecca Shaid, Reporter

For the NU men’s club soccer team, not having a competitive season for over a year could have been an irreparable loss. Instead, they’ve decided to do what they could to stay connected to their sport with COVID-19 restrictions in place, and have a good time even without competing.

“At practices there’s still that camaraderie and bond that we have from being on the team,” said team captain and Medill junior Nicholas Guiang. “It has been really nice for a lot of kids to be able to come out in the winter and just remember what it feels like to like be a part of the team.”

Guiang and his teammates started practices of 10 people soon after the end of Winter Quarter’s Wildcat Wellness. Now, while up to 20 are allowed to practice at a time, creating a productive and fun practice environment is no small feat. The team tends to stick to a small repertoire of socially distanced drills.

“Because we have such limited restrictions in terms of contact we can have in practice, and the types of drills we can do during practice, it often can get really repetitive,” Guiang said.

McCormick sophomore José Marquéz is another team member who has come to understand the challenges of safe practicing.

“I miss being able to practice without restrictions of wearing a mask,” Marquéz said. “We always have in the back of our mind that we need to be safe because we don’t want to get COVID, we don’t want to infect our friends and people on the team as well.”

With warm weather on its way, Guiang said the team is hopeful that they might have a few games with local schools this spring but first they must wait for any University-wide restrictions on tryouts to be lifted. Guiang’s goal is holding some version of recruitment in order to grow the team this spring, he said.

During the Winter Quarter, interested freshmen have been connecting informally with the team through Guiang. Medill freshman Brian Paget has even attended a few practices. He said he’s enjoyed the laid-back nature of practices and having fun with the team.

“It’s just refreshing to get some exercise in and to get to play and meet some of the guys on the team,” Paget said.

Especially with the loss of last year’s seniors and no new members yet, Marquéz said recruiting new teammates will be the team’s biggest challenge.

Even though things are starting to look up, it’s been a tough year for the team without games and with practice restrictions.

“I think the only redeeming thing,” Guiang said, is that “everyone’s going through it.”

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Twitter: @RebeccaShaid

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