Former soccer players and passionate students formed and participated in an indoor soccer team at Drive Nation Sports as the Hilltoppers to continue their love for soccer in a non-collegiate environment this season. The team welcomed many players with varied skills and currently holds the second place title in the league.
The establishment and organization of the indoor league was led by former soccer players at the University of Dallas, specifically by John Paul Cortez, a junior politics and pre-law major. The intention of organizing a recreational team was to fulfill interested players’ passion for soccer without demanding a high commitment and time. The league’s sole purpose was to have fun.
Jacob Rombs, a junior philosophy major and a former UD soccer player, shared, “There’s a lot of students at the University of Dallas who want to be involved with sports but don’t have the ability or desire for one reason or another to play at the collegiate level here at UD.”
Through this shared passion, many former players and even students, who have never played at a collegiate level, joined the team.
Dominic Lubrano, a junior biology major, is one of the few participants who hasn’t played formally at UD. He has considered playing soccer at a collegiate level but ultimately decided against it in respect to his demanding major and pre-med track.
Lubrano shared, “I thought about it and a lot of my friends have told me that I should but I ultimately decided against it because my degree plan is pretty demanding.”
This same time restriction is what encouraged many former soccer players to rescind. Being an active student-athlete demands a lot of time in practices, games, classes and, on top of that, homework. It restricts work opportunities, events with friends and school work.
Madison Ginani, a sophomore politics major and a former soccer player, explained, “There’s many reasons I definitely enjoyed [playing collegiate level] my freshman year but I just saw all the opportunities that would open up by not playing. I’d be able to work more often. I’d have more free time.”
Ginani even shared that she wouldn’t have met her current boyfriend if she hadn’t quit soccer since, on their meeting day, she would have been at an away game. Similarly, Kevin Patton, a junior business major and a former soccer player, was able to commit to two campus jobs in admissions and as a teacher assistant.
Although Patton is thankful for the freedom to be more involved on campus, he does miss playing at the collegiate level.
“I do sometimes miss the more serious competition because I’m a competitive person. It’s nice sometimes to really get into it,” Patton shared. “But the biggest thing I miss is definitely traveling with all my friends that were on the team on the weekend trips. Maybe not the bus rides themselves, but definitely the nights in the hotel rooms and walking around different cities.”
The informality of the team has a positive side to it that may make up for its lack of professionalism and serious competitiveness. Within the league, there are rolling substitutes to give players an option to control their time.
“I really enjoy playing for a team and getting behind what a team stands for,” Rombs said. “The informality of this indoor team helps us all to maintain the love of the sport that got us playing in the first place and propels us to continue playing soccer.”
Rombs also clarified that the indoor team is completely unrelated to UD with the sole exception that most of its players are current students. He encourages interested participants to form a team on the next available season in order to maximize each others’ playing time and to even compete with their own team: the Hilltoppers.
“UD’s soccer, a long time ago, was called the Hilltoppers and so a bunch of former soccer players got together and said that we would name it that way, as a tribute to the traditions of UD soccer without infringing upon the current UD titles,” Rombs explained.