Roderick Mclean | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Alexis Johnson
The Hampton University men’s soccer club team has officially been restarted. The team has already started to hit the field as they’re preparing for an upcoming tournament. Virginia State University contacted Hampton University Intramurals Director Clyde Etter and discussed playing against one another. The two came up with another idea of having a tournament.
The HU club team tentatively will play Saturday, Oct. 26, but that date can change to Saturday, Nov. 2. So far, there will be six teams in the tournament: Hampton, Virginia State, Chesterfield, Richmond Loco’s, University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Pirates are having a great turnout at practice, compared to previ- ous years. Nineteen players consistently show up.
“This year has been a good out- pour, the commitment is certainly there with a lot of new faces,” Etter said.
The team must build up its chemistry quickly as the played have not had a lot of time playing with one another like the rest of the teams in this tournament. VCU and the University of Richmond have had strong club teams for a long time and should be tough tests for the Pirates.
Senior Captain Issa Johnson is running practices due to the fact that the team is still searching for a coach. When asked how does it feel to be running practice, Johnson said: “It’s different. I’m not an actual coach, I’m a player.” Johnson main goal right now is to keep the rest of the players engaged every day.
The main focus at practice these past few weeks has been endurance. During previous seasons, the Pirates’ biggest problem has been players not being able to finish an entire half.
“The more endurance we have the longer, will be able to control the pace of the game,” senior defender Uche White-Thorpe said.
Another setback the Pirates have had is their lack of teamwork. The team has players full of individual talent, but they must work together to be successful.
The men’s club team is pushing to become a Division I program, but the Pirates will have to be committed throughout the whole season.
“That’s the ultimate goal and the reason why I been a part of this pro- gram since my freshman year,” Johnson said.
The team is not as known through- out campus like other teams yet.
“They need to show Hampton University that they’re serious about taking it to the next level,” Etter said.
Changing conferences and joining the Big South has opened that Division I door just little bit more for the club. When Hampton was in the MEAC, the men’s club team mainly played teams that were outside the conference. The MEAC is not as known for men’s soccer like the Big South.
Hampton and the rest of the teams are still finalizing where the tournament will be played.
Those interested in joining the HU club team can contact Etter.