By: Grace Ghee, Loyola Sophomore
Collegiate level athletes are some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and physically fit college students. For many, however, these collegiate sports are too time consuming, difficult, and overwhelming to balance with their academics. In this case, many athletes opt to play club sports through their school.
Club sport athletes are typically those with pure love for the game. They play for the team even without playing at the collegiate level. At Loyola University Chicago, there are 26 teams to try out for, from basketball to quidditch. Club sports are essential to Loyola’s culture.
Many female athletes often face difficulties when it comes to the comparison between male athletes. They face anything from heckling to harassment all because of their gender. But, with Loyola club sports there seems to be harmony between male and female athletes, making it much easier for all students to play together.
One female club soccer athlete, Taylor Goland, a Loyola sophomore majoring in business management with a minor in PR, divulged her experiences to me and shared how she feels on certain matters pertaining to club sports here at Loyola.
Goland describes her involvement with not only the team, but also the school administration. Being a club sport, there is no coach, only an executive board (E-Board) made up of players who run the team themselves. This challenged Goland as she navigated her time with E-board during COVID.
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity
Grace Ghee: How would you describe your experience with Loyola club sports and their management?
Taylor Goland: Not the best if I’m going to be honest. Loyola did just hire a new club sports coordinator and I know this transition period, especially with COVID, has been really not great for our executive board of players because coronavirus on its own is difficult and then you add the transition of leadership in club sports. So it is a lot more responsibility on the players of the teams. I know the weekly meetings between E-Board and the leadership positions are disorganized, so it’s been a little bumpy, but I think it will get better for sure once coronavirus is over.
Ghee: Do you find specifically at Loyola there is a difference between being a female athlete versus a male athlete?
Goland: Within club soccer I would say no because we used to get together with the boys team a lot. We would have socials, and our practices would overlap sometimes so it was fun to play with them and combine teams. I also think it’s helpful without coaches and only E-Board because we are all running our own program and we want to be treated equally and have set that precedent with them on our own.
Ghee: Wow that is great to hear. I can’t say I was expecting that answer.
Goland: I know I wasn’t either when I first joined. It’s great though.
Ghee: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced being a female athlete?
Goland: I think even taking soccer out of it, just being a female who goes to the gym, or likes to workout, or go for runs, or play sports, it’s always, even with my closest guy friends, they’re almost doubtful which has been interesting to navigate. But in Loyola club sports specifically, people don’t care about your race, your gender, your sexuality, nothing. So it’s nice to have a new chapter.
Ghee: Again, awesome to hear that we have a great community like that. Now what would you say to someone who believes that female athletes are not as capable as male athletes in general?
Goland: I would say they need to change their mindset and that they’re old fashioned to believe that. And it’s hard because I know biologically men and women are built differently. The muscle mass, the bones, it’s just different. I think it needs to be talked about more in a conversational setting though. I would ask them why they think that. That mindset is honestly just not relevant anymore, at all. It makes a person sound ignorant when they think like that these days. It’s a mindset that’s kind of screwed up.
Ghee: What changes to women’s soccer at Loyola are you most hopeful for in the next five years?
Goland: I think the commitment aspect. During tryouts and the first couple of weeks girls were very committed but it became a little disheartening to see the amount of people who didn’t care as the season went on. We’ve thought about maybe rostering more people than we actually need and then based on your commitment throughout the season, E-Board will decide if you get to play in the games.
Ghee: Anything else you wanted to add?
Goland: I would love to spread awareness that there are club sports at Loyola. I thought that if I wasn’t playing soccer at the collegiate level I wasn’t going to play at all. I was lucky I stumbled across the club fair so that I was able to play and I would encourage everyone else to look into club sports.
For further information on how to get involved in club sports, follow this link: https://www.luc.edu/campusrec/sports/