The University of Mississippi has seven men’s sports teams, but men’s soccer doesn’t make the cut. While the university does sponsor a women’s soccer team, male students with a passion for soccer turn elsewhere.
The UM Men’s Club Soccer Team is sponsored by the campus recreation center. This club allows male university students to form a team, attend practices, and travel to play other university club teams.
Tryouts are necessary, but team members are not required to have any prior skills or knowledge. Open to anyone and everyone, the club welcomes students who just want to play soccer.
Team President AJ Davidson is a sophomore from Cumming, Georgia. Davidson played on the team previously, but assumed an executive position this year.
“This spring, we don’t really have a season planned,” said Davidson. “The goal is to get at least one game in to keep our legs fresh, and to keep up awareness about the club.”
Currently, 28 members make up the travel team. A reserve team of 12 members also exists, under the circumstances that a game cannot be played with only the travel team. Members come from all around the United States, and have a wide range of soccer abilities.
Dallas native Britton Farragut has played soccer most of his life, and has enjoyed getting to continue the sport throughout college.
“My favorite experience [on the team] was when we played a double-header against Alabama and Troy,” said Farragut. “That day, I had two goals, one against each team, and both of them were game-tying goals.”
St. Louis native Peyton Dixon is a novice soccer player, but has enjoyed playing alongside veterans like Davidson and Farragut.
“I have never actually been on a team before last semester,” said Dixon. “I have been playing soccer for a few years, but last semester was my first season on a team. It has been really cool to be playing with friends, attending practices, and doing drills with the team.”
Last year, the team displayed a record season, winning a total of four games and only giving up one. The team traveled all across the southeastern region, and will continue to travel anywhere a team is willing to play.
“We played Auburn, Memphis, Mississippi State, North Alabama, Troy, and Alabama,” said Farragut. “We hope to get a win every weekend.”
As for funding, the team receives money from the campus recreation center and the Associated Student Body. Last year, ASB provided the funding for team jerseys. However, Davidson would like team members to pay most financial expenses.
“It is both a goal of mine and my vice president’s, Hunter Douglas, to be as self-sufficient as possible,” said Davidson. “We would like to depend on our own funds via player dues.”
Even though the team does not have a spring schedule in place, Davidson does have an outline of how he would like the next season to look.
“I think the goals for next season and the future of the team are to improve our record and get more players that really enjoy playing soccer, like the players that we have now,” said Davidson.
“We didn’t recruit players based off of politics. It was about finding chemistry and creating a team with a roster that was going to mesh well, build new friendships, and hopefully win games. We keep it [the team] in the best interest of our players, and from there, hopefully, make a better team.”