K-State Club Sports: women’s soccer works past obstacles

Bailey Snyder, sophomore in nutrition and kinesiology, weaves the ball around teammates Stephanie Rucker, senior in management, front, Amelia Jerome, sophomore in animal sciences and industry left, and Michelle Bowman, sophomore in athletic training, back, during the Women's Club Soccer team's practice Wednesday evening at Old Stadium. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

With their fall season coming to an end, the women’s club soccer team is very enthusiastic for what’s in store. This is one of the first years they have had enough women try out to fill a whole roster and make a second team.

Jacquelyn Ewald, senior in civil engineering and co-captain on the team, said she is excited to see their team getting bigger.

“My favorite part about the team this year is all the new members,” Ewald said. “There were 53 girls at tryouts this year, which is almost double what we had last year.”

The club team is entirely student led, though they have a coach that helps out. However, he more closely resembles an authority figure for the team. The captains run tryouts by themselves as they know what they want in a team.

Amelia Jerome, sophomore in animal sciences and industry, club president and co-captain, said she wants to improve the team now that the numbers are getting bigger.

Despite being a club team, the players are very competitive. Some of the women have played in college and transferred to K-State for various reasons, while others played high-level club in high school.

“Most of the time, on women’s soccer teams, they are not very technically skilled and they are more about teamwork and doing your part to help the team,” Ewald said. “But this year, we have a lot more individual talent.”

For the first time in club history, the team traveled to a tournament in Colorado. They faced some teams they hadn’t yet played and experienced a new level of competition.

“There was a lot of team bonding that happened (in Colorado),” Jerome said. “It was a really fun experience for us and it was different for me because I had never had a team interaction like that before.”

The team beat Nebraska at the Colorado tournament – which was exciting because not only were they struggling with the altitude, they only had 16 non-injured players.

“We wanted to finish the tournament strong and everyone’s attitudes were so fun during the game,” Ewald said.

Whether it’s NCAA-affiliated competition or club sports, the in-state rivalry between K-State and Kansas is still very much in place.

“(They) have access to a lot of resources that we do not have, since they have a (Division I) team,” Ewald said. “So not only are they our rival, but we like to compare and see how well we are doing when we play them.”

K-State is the only Big 12 school in the Kansas/Missouri women’s club soccer league that does not have a Division I team to pair with its club team.

Emily Johnson, junior in fish, wildlife and conservation and co-captain, said she thinks that not having that school-affiliated program makes their team unique, as well as motivates them to work and recruit harder.

“It can be a disadvantage for us because schools with (those programs) have resources that we do not have,” Johnson said. “But, going forward, it is better for us because we work harder to beat these teams.”

Because this hardworking team is growing each year, the captains are looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

“A club team changes every year, so you need players that are willing to play with new people every year,” Jerome said. “We look at skill at tryouts, but we also look at attitude.”

Though the season is coming to an end, the team will have open tryouts for the Ed Chartrand Memorial Soccer Tournament. The event is co-hosted the spring with the men’s club team.