Victory for NEIU Soccer

Katie Kelly

Photo by Katie Kelly

The excitement in the gym was heard throughout the entire P.E. complex for NEIU’s men’s and women’s soccer clubs. On Saturday night, October 20, campus was empty except for the P.E complex that was full of loud fans cheering on the Golden Eagles as they played other clubs from Chicago. The gym was full of family and friends as the teams played their hearts out to win. The games start at 8p.m. for men and 9p.m. for women. Both teams had an exciting victory. This is an opportunity for culturally diverse students to show off their skills and make NEIU proud.

The men’s and women’s soccer teams don’t play traditional soccer because that is done outdoors. What they play is called futsal, a version of indoor soccer. Futsal is played in a 6 on 6 format, with only five players on each team and a goalie. Traditional soccer is 11 on 11, where each team has 10 players and a goalie. For futsal, there are two 20-minute halves that make up the game, whereas traditional soccer is two 45- minute halves. The goals are much smaller than traditional soccer goals, and the size of the field is much smaller as well. Futsal is played with much more finesse and better ball control than is generally required in traditional soccer, which utilizes more raw power mixed with gentle touches. This also makes the game much more fast paced. It is a constant back and forth game in which players run from goal to goal within seconds to stop or progress the ball toward the other side. Futsal is also played with a much smaller ball then traditional soccer. Standard soccer balls are lighter weight and have significantly more bounce, whereas balls for futsal are much heavier to eliminate the bouncing aspect. Overall, the difference between futsal and traditional soccer is a lot and it takes a very different type of strategy and training to be successful. The players on the NEIU futsal teams practice in these types of conditions so they are able to better prepare for game-time situations.

Coming off a loss from the previous week, the men won their game 8-2 over a Chicago-area team named Lucus. This was an opportunity to boost their confidence and keep up the excitement for next Saturday’s game. The women were losing at half 0-2, but pulled it together to win 5-2 over Tasco. Max Guadarrama is the president of the men’s club also coaches both teams. He used to coach in high school and now coaches for NEIU. Diana Perez is the women’s team president and the goalie of her team. Abraham Esparza is the vice president of men’s team and plays midfield.

Abraham has been playing soccer for 12 years. Abraham wants students at the university to know that “more than anything, we want to create a soccer culture at the university because it is a renowned sport throughout the world.” The soccer team is closed for participants during these Saturday night game times due to limited space of 15 players, however they encourage students that want to play to come to scrimmage with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the P.E complex from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. They allow any student with any ability level to join and play with them. Their season began in October and ends in March so there is still plenty of time to join and have fun!