After the dismantling of the men’s varsity soccer program last year, former players are filling up new free time with other campus activities.
From last year’s 26-man roster, five students graduated and seven others transferred. Six of those transfer students left University of Richmond to continue competing for other teams.
Several of the remaining 15 players are now “involved in Greek life, joining clubs on campus or playing club or intramural soccer,” former player and senior Marcos Cejudo said.
The team found out that the program would be cut at a meeting before playing Virginia Military Institute (VMI) one year ago this month. They went on to beat VMI 2-0 that night.
“After we heard the news, it definitely became a rollercoaster,” former player and junior Timmy Albright said. “We’d get really fired up for home games, but there were times on the road when we were just depressed and had no energy.”
After finishing the season with a 6-11-1 record, players were faced with the decision of staying at Richmond or transferring to other schools.
Cejudo said that some students had stayed because of their scholarships. Despite the discontinuation of the team, scholarships remained for players who had received them.
“For some guys, it was a good opportunity to pursue their careers,” Cejudo said.
Sophomore and former player Brandon Jordi decided to join the football team once the soccer season ended.
“I made the most of the situation and tried out for the team at the end of January,” Jordi said. He is now the starting kicker for the football team.
Albright considered transferring to play soccer for another school, but he decided he wanted to stay at Richmond with his remaining teammates. “I understand why some of the guys left, but the relationships I have here and the education were too much to throw away,” he said.
This year, Albright is working three jobs and is a member of fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. “I have a lot more free time now than I’m used to,” Albright said. He played in the first club soccer game but doubts he will continue playing club games in the future.
After competing at the Division I level, Albright said he didn’t think he would continue playing club, because “there’s a lot of pride involved,” he said.
Although he doesn’t anticipate continuing with club soccer, Albright said he would compete in the intramural soccer league for his fraternity. Cejudo is competing in intramurals as well, and he also plays for the club team. “Even though it’s a different level of competition, I’m playing for the fun and to stay in shape,” Cejudo said.
The level of competition in the intramural league will be high this year, said Shelby Timberlake, the manager of intramural sports. The 15 teams in the A-league have been divided into three divisions, but the numbers in the B-league have dropped from last year.
Three of last year’s B-league teams moved up to the A-league this year, and the influx of former varsity players to the league has added a lot of talent, Timberlake said.
Contact reporter Clay Helms at email@example.com