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Lads assemble new team

By Ronda Sutor     9/10/14 3:45pm

The Rice University men’s club soccer team, commonly known as the Lads, recently assembled their 2014-15 team. More than forty aspiring Lads tried out for the team last Monday through Wednesday, and returning upperclassmen chose eight to join the team.

The Lads are returning from a 2013-14 campaign, in which they defeated their rival Texas A&M University and qualified for the national tournament. Nationals were held in Phoenix, Ariz., which experienced a torrential downpour during the course of tournament, and the tournament was cancelled. However, before nationals ended prematurely, the Lads beat Pennsylvania State University and tied Virginia Tech University. The Lads garnered a spot in the Sweet Sixteen bracket and were scheduled to play Cincinnati State University when the tournament was cancelled.

The Lads have become a nationally-recognized club soccer program, and qualifying to play for the team has become a challenge in itself. According to Lads Captain Paul Greenfield, tryouts are becoming more selective every year.

“The guys that try out want to play soccer competitively,” Greenfield, a McMurtry College junior, said. “[They] know that it’s a competitive team, and they’re always there to win.”

McMurtry sophomore Nick Mallas, who just made the team last week, said the tryouts were competitive and intense.

“There were a lot of people trying out for hardly any spots,” Mallas said. “You weren’t going to make the team unless you showed something special.”

Because of the Lads’ competitiveness, rivalries have developed in recent years.  According to Greenfield, an intense rivalry has developed in recent years between the Lads and Texas A&M University’s club team, especially due to the critical match that sent the Lads to nationals last year.

“We definitely have a good rivalry with A&M after the regionals last year,” Greenfield said. “I think if nationals [was not] canceled we would’ve played them at nationals too. If we would’ve kept winning, I think we would’ve played A&M again, which would’ve been fun. I think A&M is definitely our biggest rivalry.”

According to Lads Vice President Martin Torres, Rice students have reason to come out to the games and watch the Lads soccer team.

“There’s free beer at all of our games, and we play quality soccer,” Torres, a Will Rice College sophomore, said.

Midfielder Daniel Zdeblick also said more students should come to the home games.

“You’re rooting for your friends and classmates from your college and Rice,” Zdeblick, a McMurtry sophomore, said. “We’re a really good team and win a lot of games. It’s also fun to yell at the refs.”

The Lads’ next home game is Oct. 4 against the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Sports Editors Maddy Adams and Evan Neustater contributed to this article. 

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