Globally recognized as the world’s game, recently, soccer has grown substantially in the United States. Building off of the energy of tournaments like the World Cup and video games like EA Sports’ FIFA, soccer is becoming a major sport in a country that is enamored with football, basketball and baseball.
At NC State, soccer has maintained a great following through the legacy of our men’s varsity team, currently ranked top 25 in the nation. This team has produced players such as former US Men’s National Team member Pabli Mastroeni and current Carolina RailHawk Nazmi Albadawi.
Our men’s club team has followed suit, building a program predicated on building great student-athletes and fantastic soccer players. Check out our interview with the team below.
UREC: How is the season going thus far?
So far we have had a very good season; we have yet to lose a conference game and we look like strong contenders for Regionals. As the season goes on we have only been getting better and that is something that is very promising.
UREC: What are you guys looking forward to the most this school year?
As the regular season comes to an end, we are really looking forward to Regionals. If we qualify, we will be going to Florida on Halloween weekend and hopefully we can have a strong showing there. We have not qualified for the past couple of years, so this is something that we are really looking forward too.
UREC: As the new members come in, what is the most important thing necessary to become a valuable team member?
The most important thing would be commitment. We have players from all over the place with many different playing styles so when a new player comes in it is important that he is going to all the practices in order to get better team chemistry. The more committed the player is the better adapted he can become to our playing style, and the bigger impact he can have for us on the field.
UREC: What is the strongest attribute of this team on the field?
Our strongest attribute would have to be our teamwork. We work very hard every practice to make that we are all on the same page when it comes to game time, and that shows. We are very strong when it comes to attacking and defending as a unit.
UREC: Typical practice looks like?
At the beginning of practice the first thing we do is get a warm up going, this usually consists of a couple laps around the field just to get our legs going. After this we incorporate some technical work with some fitness as well. Once we finish this we move on to some small sided games, some possession drills, or a scrimmage. We also try to make things more interesting by having the losing team do more fitness at the end of practice.
UREC: During travel, what are some of the best memories you can recall?
The best thing about traveling with the team is the time we get to spend together. The team meals we have are usually what everyone looks forward to and is always a good time. And of course whenever we stay at a hotel we seem to also find a way to get a little soccer game going, usually in the halls or in the parking lot.
UREC: What is a staple tradition your team has?
Our biggest tradition is going to the Clemson tournament. Every year Clemson has a tournament, and this is something that we always look forward too as a team. This is the time we get to spend the most time together as a team and it really helps us come together and get to know each other, especially the newest players that some might not know as well.
UREC: Being a student-athlete has benefited you in a multitude of ways, top benefit is?
Being a student-athlete can be something that is very demanding at times. With school being very stressful at times with exams and projects, the best thing for me about being a student-athlete is the relief that is gives me. I know that no matter how busy the week is, at least twice a week I am going to have a couple hours where I get to relax and do what I love. It helps me relax and get away from all the stress of school, and that is something that is very important I think for everyone; everyone needs to do something that gets you away from the stress and re-energizes you.
UREC: Lastly, what makes men’s club soccer at NC State special?
What makes club soccer soccer so special is the bond and friendships that it creates. There is something about being part of a team that is inexplicable. We have people come from so many different places and cultures that are brought together by this one sport that we love. Club soccer takes soccer and creates bonds that go way beyond that, it creates awesome friendships. Club soccer has given me friendships that will last a lifetime, and that is pretty special.