Morgan Golliver, Sports Editor
Despite the busy schedules, the hundreds of student-athletes at Utica College still are able to find time to bond with their teammates. Bonding off the field helps teams build lasting relationships with each other.
The UC men’s soccer season is well underway, with a record of 4-5-1. The team was mostly able to find bonding time during pre season and after every game and by participating in fun activities during practices. Some of the ways in which the players get to know each other is through team bowling, footgolf and competitive yard games.
“The day of playing yard games was a good way to see each other be competitive and a good way to meet freshman guys and just get comfortable with each other off the field,” said Thomas Muller, a forward.
During the season, the team has two to three games a week, along with having to attend classes, which leaves little time for the members to bond off the field. But Muller said, the team takes time to bond after every game.
“After every game, especially home games, we have a tailgate where food is provided,” Muller said. “Everyone is required to go, so it’s not just one or two guys showing up and it gives us a chance to get to know each other and each other’s families.”
As teams spend most of their time together, tension may rise between teammates, but Muller said there has never been a time where it gets to a point of no return with his teammates.
“In training, guys get into each other because all of us want to win and it’s very competitive,” Muller said. “But I can’t ever think of a specific time where anything tense carried off the training ground.”
As a junior leader, Muller individually helps out freshmen to make sure they know how to interact with teammates.
“It’s nice to help the freshman see how we do things and how to bond with guys who are younger than them because they’re going to be there someday,” Muller said. “All of us are best friends, so the little stuff like that helps.”
Muller also pointed out how important bonding is as soccer is a team sport.
“For us, team bonding is huge,” Muller said. “If we have one individual whose not ready, it kills the whole idea of what you want to do as a team. It’s important to have a relationship with everyone on the team, so we can go up to someone and say ‘You’re not on today. Let’s go’ without hurting anyone’s feelings.”
During their off-season, the UC women’s lacrosse team has plenty of time to hang out with one another before the season starts in the spring.
“We don’t really make specific time for team bonding,” said Hali Vandermeulen, the goalkeeper. “We are kind of always just bonding. We usually always hang out whether it’s eating lunch together, studying together or just hanging out. We are a very tight knit team.”
As teams spend most of their time together, there can be tension among teammates. Vandermeulen said the team tries to take care of any issues immediately.
“Of course, we get annoyed with each other, especially in season. We spend more time together than apart,” Vandermeulen said. “But, when there is tension, we usually squash it as fast as possible. Coach is really good at reading all of us so if something is off she usually addresses it and if she sees that we just are run down, she’ll give us a day off.”
Vandermeulen also makes efforts to bond with her teammates.
“I just try to always get everyone to do something no matter what it is even if I’m just driving to get a cup of coffee,” Vandermeulen said. “I see if anyone wants to go and most of our team does things like that. We also have events like our annual Christmas party and one year we did a pumpkin carving contest.”
Vandermeulen is thankful to share memories on and off the field with her teammates where the team is like her second family.
“I’ve never been apart of a team as great as this one. Every year with them gets better. It really is home away from home.”