Couldn’t make it up to Portland for the Timbers’ home opener at Jeld-Wen Field? Not a problem. Thanks to a group of undergraduate business students, you can still get a soccer fix.
The University of Oregon World Cup will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the turf fields next to the Student Recreation Center. Activities begin at 8 a.m. both days and last until 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
In its sixth year of operation, the UO World Cup is building a reputation as a quality soccer event.
“It was well run,” said Kristina Lekas, a junior political science and sociology major and the coordinator of Oregon women’s club soccer. “I liked the T-shirts they gave out to everyone and the whole thing went smoothly from my perspective. It was organized.”
Lekas has primarily played on co-ed teams in the World Cup’s recreational division. A collegiate club division also exists, with five schools competing – Oregon, Portland State, Northwest Christian, Southern Oregon and Central Oregon Community College.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to the scholarship fund of Eugene Metro Futbol Club (EMFC), Eugene’s local soccer organization.
Matches will be serious, but the members of the Warsaw Sports Business Club that host the event have attempted to make it seriously fun.
“Playing competitively is fun, but playing competitively and being able to laugh and goof around is really enjoyable,” Lekas said.
Tournament organizers have reached out to the Portland Timbers, and the Timbers responded by becoming official partners. (The tournament’s title sponsor is adidas, also the jersey sponsor for Major League Soccer.) Among the Timbers’ contributions is a soccer ball autographed by the team, to be raffled off this weekend.
Soccer may be a fall sport at the collegiate level, but the impact on campus life is monumental in the spring.
“Recreational soccer is big here,” Lekas said. “There are so many people at the turf fields at 6 p.m. everyday that there have to be two packed games going on just to include everyone. Still, there is a mob of people attempting to play soccer in such a small space. There are always people playing soccer and intramurals soccer is really popular as well.”