UP Football Club joins Premier division

By The Beacon | September 11, 2010 9:00pm

By John McCarty, Staff Writer -- mccarty12@up.edu

Following their first year in the Cascade Collegiate Soccer League, the men's soccer club is set to face off against big name collegiate club teams from all over Oregon after recent league restructuring.

Last year, the Cascade Collegiate Soccer league was divided into northern and southern divisions, but for the fall 2010 season the league has been reorganized into premier and second divisions in the hopes of increasing the level of competition.

The UP Football Club was placed in the Premier division alongside schools like the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University, Portland State and Lewis and Clark.

The UPFC took second in their division last fall, which secured it a slot in the premier division but they will have to maintain a winning performance if they wish to remain in the league.

UPFC will play ten league games all over Oregon; the division winner will be selected based on total points and the last place team will automatically be relegated to the second division.

"I think the premier league will be a nice middle ground," junior mechanical engineering major and team captain Zach McMullen said. "My freshman year we got destroyed a lot, last year we destroyed a lot. This year we are going to have tough competition every game, instead of just winning of losing drastically."

Two years ago UPFC was a member of the Oregon Premier Soccer League, a semi-professional league that boasts a high number of players who have competed at either the professional or collegiate level in the United States, Mexico and Germany.

"I don't know if we won a single game," junior Alistair Rokstad, who has played for the team three years, said.

Though 35 people showed up for tryouts, there were only four available slots on the team. There are 15 returning players from the fall 2009 season, and, according to Rokstad, these returners have a guaranteed spot on the team unless they slack off and skip practices.

The University of Oregon's club program was the champion of their division last season and according to Rokstad they have a salaried coach along with a significantly larger student body to draw from.

UPFC has no official coach; rather, captains McMullen and José Mondragon-Gomez fulfill the roles of players, coaches and organizers.

According to McMullen, the main advantage of having a coach comes during games, when it is difficult to pay attention to substitutions and other coaching duties and play at the same time.

In order to prepare for the higher level of competition, McMullen says the club will be running more structured practices, and incorporating more conditioning because the UPFC aims to be one of the top teams in the premier division of the Cascade Collegiate Soccer League.