USI International Soccer Club

Dani Palmer

Tape holds frayed rope together to poles on opposing sides of a basketball court.

It’s 9 p.m. on Thursday night at the Recreation and Fitness center and a collection of international students have assembled to kick an oversized softball around the gym.

For the next few hours, the sport that has been deemed as ‘universal’ by many will pull kids from Spain, Germany and Venezuela together in a light-hearted, yet sometimes intense game of soccer.

Andres Ayesta is the international soccer club coordinator. He took the position over last January.

The team is an extension of the International Club, and Ayesta is from Venezuela and a junior majoring in dietetics.

“My job is to keep the team together, send out e-mails, set up our schedule and make sure practice goes well,” Ayesta said.

The team has two official games a year against the University of Evansville’s International Soccer Club.

 “There is a trophy that has been made up,” said Ayesta. “The winner receives the trophy with the score engraved upon it and the year.”

 The team only practices once a week because of a lack of space provided. Ayesta said that even in the spring the team isn’t allowed to practice on the “practice soccer fields” or even out in the intramural fields sometimes.

Hopefully, that will change with the new soccer fields that have been put in for intramural sports.

 “Our biggest frustration is the lack of space and equipment,” Ayesta said. “We used to have a court reserved at the REC, but now we just have to show up and hope it’s available.”

 Despite all of these setbacks, the team has only lost two games over the last year.

To get more playing time, they’ve signed up at a sports complex across town at Metro Sports. They entered as one of the eight teams and won the tourney.

 “We also won the intramural soccer tournament here at USI,” Ayesta said. “We are proud of these accomplishments.”

 The team encourages anyone and everyone to play on Thursday nights. Not only international students, but Americans as well.

 “We want to foster learning and a mixing of the cultures from all over the world,” Ayesta said.

 The date hasn’t been set for the spring game against UE, but the plan is in the works to have the game. The USI international soccer team won the last outing.