Soccer may be one of the fastest growing sports in the world but here at Radford, growth of the men’s soccer club has been at a stand still. Senior Clay Gates is about to try and change that.
Gates took over as the club soccer president this year after just being a player last year. According to the new leader, who sees soccer as a lifelong passion he hopes to keep playing for a long time, it is time for some changes.
“My vice president and I are highly motivated and we want to see this club succeed and we plan to keep things on point,” Gates said. “We did not enjoy the laxity that the leader showed last year and I wanted to turn it around.”
While club teams are obviously more laid back than the D1 athletic teams Radford has, Gates and his troops are out to prove this year that the men’s soccer team is nothing to joke about.
“Right now we are holding tryouts but once the team is formed we will have practice about three times a week, it’s serious,” Gates said. “We had 43 guys come out for the team but if I have my way we will keep 24 players.”
The team has been holding tryouts on Muse quad but will move down to the intramural fields once practice’s start.
After some issues with paperwork last year, the team is not apart of the SCC or the Sports Club Council. That means there are certain funds that the team will not receive this year. However not only does Gates plan to win this year, he also plans to prove to Radford and the surrounding community that they deserve to be apart of that council.
“As far as fundraising is concerned, basically anything that we do we are keeping the team at number one but helping the community and university is right on par with that,” Gates said.
Right now the main focus of the club is to select the team then get everybody on the same page with what is expected of them. When it comes to grades and community service there will be no exceptions.
“Community service is a must along with participating in team activities. We want to do whatever we can to show the school that this is a serious club and we are making it serious,” Gates said.
The club just recently went and cleaned up at a local cemetery and Gates has already planned a couple of more activities for the team not only off campus, but on campus as well. Gates is trying to instill core values in his team this year though these activities that will not only help them on the field but off the pitch as well.
“You have to have a strong brotherhood to have a real team. There is no I in team and I know that’s a corny term but it is definitely true. The team has to be cohesive and people that are willing to work with each other, make each other better and challenge each other,” Gates said. “I am putting a lot of trust in these guys and I hope they pay it back to me.”
At this time the team has not finalized their schedule but the plan is to bring three or four different schools to Radford and then they will return the favor and hit the road. The teams will mostly be from the Virginia area with familiar foes in JMU, Longwood and cross-town rival Virginia Tech.
Gates has many goals that he intends to accomplish while president of the men’s club soccer team but his main one is to allow people to have fun while also get the club back on track after being derailed last year.
“Last year we didn’t really get to play against other schools and I would really love to see these guys get the experience of playing against other schools and at the same time enjoying college years,” said Gates.