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Monday, December 11, 2023
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Kickin' it Around the World

Kunz field echoed with the sound of students cheering as the Korean Student Association (KSA) dominated the International Soccer Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 16.

"I am really happy because this is the first time to win since I began [playing] soccer," said Charles Lee, captain of the KSA team and a senior biomedical sciences major.

KSA started the tournament in matches against the Caribbean SA and Turkish SA, two consistently strong teams, before playing against last year's winners, Indonesian SA, in the semi-finals.

"We were not worried too much because we heard [Indonesian SA's] strength was weakening," Lee said.

KSA was down 1-0 late in the second half of the final match against Japanese SA (JSA), until an equalizing goal gave them the lifeline they needed to take the match into overtime.

"Honestly, it was the most terrible moment…because we [let] the opponent make the opening goal for the first time in this year's tournament," Lee said.

JSA's President, Yoshitaka Nakamura, a senior accounting major and goalkeeper, admitted that one goal against KSA would not be enough.

"Against [KSA], we needed more," Nakamura said. "I was sad when I let in KSA's first goal, but it was still 1-1 so I wasn't too disappointed."

All participating teams were expected to do well, which only added to the intensity of the competition that the players felt.

"There [was] pressure on all of us," said Ahmad Alsaadeh, captain of the Organization of Arab Students and a junior in the school of management. "Especially [because soccer] is full of surprises…one mistake could cost you the whole game. I expected to do way better than we did, but there were [a] couple of complications that we had."

This year's tournament was different from the ones held in previous years, something many players were not pleased with. Referees for each game were students from the men and women's club soccer teams. Players also wished that each game was longer than 20 minutes, according to Alsaadeh.

"We [didn't want to] call everything that went on [because] that would just slow down the matches. We wanted to let the game play," said Natalie DiCesare, a senior nursing major and one of the referees.

The unorganized day and referees weren't the only things that bothered the players.

Some of the players were also displeased with the weather throughout the course of that weekend, although that was out of their control.

"The tournament should have started a week earlier just because the weather was very good," said Yuda Zyco, captain of the Indonesian SA team and a second year MBA student.

One player twisted his knee barely six minutes into a match because of all of the rainfall.

"My cleats weren't suited to the wet pitch," said Maurice Herkrath, a junior economics major. "The amount of pain is hard to describe, I've felt it before so I know what to expect, but that doesn't stop it from hurting like crazy at the beginning."

Despite the weather conditions, club members and supporters all braved the cold winds and sporadic rainfall to support their teams.

"The weather was [horrible, but] the tournament brought people together," said Carl Ross, international council coordinator and a senior Asian studies major. "A lot of people came out and really just had fun, and that's what we hoped the tournament would be like."




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