By Marc Weems
With the spring coming to a close, the Youngstown State University men’s soccer club will be looking to make a statement. YSU men’s soccer club is competing in the Eastern division of the Midwest Alliance Soccer Conference.
It will be competing against large schools such as Bowling Green State University, Kent State University and the University of Akron.
“We have an organization that has nearly 60 players,” YSU soccer club president Qusai Abuhammad said. “When we compete, we only compete with a 24-player squad. We have three goalkeepers and 21 other players.”
This will be the first time the team will be competing in an official capacity as an organization. The games it plays along with the results count towards it’s placement in the 2018 season.
“What you get in the beginning of the 2018 season is based off of the results of the 2017 matches,” Abuhammad said. “It is all about how we do against the teams we schedule in the Eastern Division.”
The season begins on Aug. 19 with a home game against Wright State University. The idea, according to Abuhammad, is to play at least three home games and three away games.
YSU’s schedule includes home games against WSU, the University of Toledo and BGSU. Away games include Ohio University and the University of Dayton. He also said the team hopes to play Kent State as well.
“Based on our draw, we won’t play Ohio State University or the University of Miami (OH),” Abuhammad said. “Unfortunately, no one can play a 12-week schedule due to school. We play one match every week on weekends mostly.
“What’s really interesting is we have really good high school soccer around here. We just don’t have soccer on campus. That didn’t make any sense to me at first. We understood that the organization needed someone to put it all together. It was for the best of everybody. That’s what we did in the last year.”
Abuhammad also said that the organization got a lot of positive feedback from people around the community who desperately want a men’s soccer team in the area.
“Why not?,” Abuhammad said about hoping to get YSU into the Horiozn League one day. “If we can make it there, why not? If it benefits this school and if it benefits this community, I don’t see why not. We will be playing at Farmers Bank Field which was recently built. We have really nice facilities on campus right now.”
Abuhammad also said that the timing for this team couldn’t be better because of these facilities. The team does most of its practicing at the Watson and Tressel Training Site. He also said being able to use these facilities when other schools don’t have them is huge.
“This is basically three years of effort,” Abuhammad said. “This didn’t just come out of nowhere. We’ve played [the University of] Pittsburgh and Westminster University. We also had a lot of people coming in and out of this team. We had to talk with ex-presidents and even presidents of other school clubs. We needed their experience to understand how to run it.”
For the past three years or so, YSU has played some tough competition such as Pitt. Abuhammad believes that playing that level of competition has helped put them in the position they all are in.
As part of being president of the club, he went to the Annual Presidents’ meeting. It was held at Purdue University on April 8.
“I had the chance to meet all the presidents of all the club soccer’s,” Abuhammad said. “There are over 50 schools in the alliance, so that was a great opportunity to get going with.”