Soccer, community and friendly rivalry will be on display at the Villa Maria Hall vs. Christy Hall annual Soccer Derby on Merlo Field on Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m. The Beacon talked to their respective hall directors and a player in the upcoming game to bring you insight on the upcoming match.
Each year Villa Maria Hall and Christie Hall go head to head in their annual Soccer Derby to determine the winner of the game’s perpetual cup. This long held tradition usually ends in a win for Villa Maria Hall, as the hall has taken home the Soccer Derby cup every year for over 20 years. If you ask the guys of Villa, they plan on keeping the winning tradition alive and taking home the cup again this year,
“Oh yeah,” Villa Maria Resident Assistant Jack Calden said. “We’ve been training all year.”
This training comes in the form of an all dorm Villa event called ‘Villa Soccer’ that encourages soccer loving residents to head down to the River Campus field for practice every Friday at 4.p.m. since the start of the academic year in August.
Similarly to Villa, Christie has been preparing for the match by hosting weekly soccer practices called ‘Christie Kicks’ every Saturday morning. These practices were spearheaded by Christie Hall Resident Assistant Zach Jokisch and are a fun community building event for the hall.
If you want to root for the underdog, Christie is the hall to support. After a period of closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hall is ready to get out there and build community at this fun event that they say is less of a competitive game and more of an opportunity for building inter-dorm relationships.
“Our RAs had to be exiled from Christie when it was closed and so you kind of lose a little bit of the community bonding and participation,” Christie Hall Director Pablo Quan Lopez CSC said. “We’ve been trying to re-establish some of those traditions.”
Villa Maria Hall Director Carter Smith also emphasized the inter-hall community building opportunity this game presents,
“It’s being able to be a part of something that’s not necessarily your immediate dorm community,” Smith said. “I think that’s very important in creating a positive campus culture.”
A common excitement for playing time on Merlo Field is a sentiment that members of both halls share,
“It’s pretty sick,” Calden said. “It’s definitely one of the perks of the games, that we get to go play on the actual nicest pitch in the country.”
“That’s a big thing,” Quan Lopez said. “It’s like getting to play on the field is more of an experience for them than whether you win or lose right? You can say, ‘Hey! We get to play on Merlo.’”
Players with experience playing this game in past years can confirm just how special the opportunity feels. Merlo is one of the nicest college fields in the U.S. so the opportunity for students to play there is a unique one.
“After the game [in 2022] I walked back on the field and I just laid there because it was so nice.” Villa player Jonah Montgomery said. “When you’ve been playing soccer for a while you learn to appreciate nice grass.”
When asked what Villa players to watch out for, this is what Calden had to say:
“Jonah Montgomery is probably one of the best players out there … but don’t tell him I said that,” Calden said. “Say he can’t shoot with his left foot … Can you put that in the article? That would be great.”
Maggie Dapp is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.