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The Culture of Club Sports at Carleton

Joey shares a few experiences from playing club soccer at Carleton.

Joey shares a few experiences from playing club soccer at Carleton.

Like many things at Carleton, club sports can be what you want them to be.

Example of camaraderie among soccer players.
Carleton’s club soccer team at a tournament.

How involved you are is generally up to you. Club soccer, for example, gets together 3-4 times each week for practice and dinner in one of the dining halls afterwards. All players are encouraged to come to as many practices as they can.

No worries if your schedule doesn’t work for one or more of the practices! That’s one reason the club soccer captains organize so many practices — they want everyone to have an opportunity to come. If you are able to make it to more practices, great! If you can’t, that’s okay too.

Impression of where club soccer practices
One of my favorite spots on campus, the Hill of Three Oaks. Club soccer practices on a field just behind this hill.

Students who play club sports play them because they love them, not so they can be better than someone else.

Coming from a soccer team that was fairly competitive, the constructive (but still challenging) atmosphere of Carleton club soccer was new to me. In fact, a lot of club athletes at Carleton are familiar with cut-throat environments from high school. At Carleton, however, they come together to build a constructive environment.

A moment from soccer practice during fall term my first year left me pleasantly shocked.

As is common in soccer, a player made a poor “touch” on a ball, sending it in a wrong direction. I heard two distant “Come on!” shouts off in the background, which was normal for my soccer experiences up to that point.

At a meeting shortly after, however, the warmhearted captain told the team in a huddle:

“If you see someone make a poor touch on a ball, don’t shout it out to them. They made a mistake, and they know it. Let’s help each other.”

That moment solidified what I had picked up on from the first couple of weeks playing club soccer at Carleton — the people who play club are in it for the excitement and the fun, of course, but there’s something deeper… they really enjoy sharing the sport with each other and challenging themselves as a group.

The collaborative mentality of club sports at Carleton extends to the rest of campus.

For example, Carls tend not to discuss grades with each other and recognize that everyone has ups and downs. We build each other up through late-night study sessions at the Libe, quick meals and games in Sayles, and our traditions

Example of Carleton tradition
Friday flowers, a beloved Carleton tradition, involves Carls buying flowers in Sayles, writing a personal note, and delivering them to another student’s mailbox.

Although I’m not a varsity athlete at Carleton, I know these qualities are present there, too.

Joey balances his work for the American Studies major with his interests in Educational Studiesclub soccerultimate frisbee, and club cross-country skiing at Carleton. He learned to juggle while growing up in Papillion, Nebraska, and has taught Carleton and middle school students how to juggle through his involvement with the Carleton Juggling F.I.S.H. and a CCCE/TORCH after-school program that teaches juggling and magic at the Northfield Middle School. When not writing satire for the Carleton Salt or dancing with the social dance club, you’ll find Joey playing foosball in Sayles, burrowing into the Libe, or watching Avatar: the Last Airbender in a dorm lounge. Meet the other bloggers!