By Zackary Lavoie, Contributing Writer
Intramural Soccer at the FRC will be replaced this fall with Handball, in light of negativity surrounding Soccer and it’s alternative Futsal, a smaller, indoor version of the game.
“It just got too negative,” said Leah Brackett, head of intramurals at UMF, “it became too physical, and there was a lot of bad language.” According to Brackett, the varsity oriented intramural lead to the games becoming too intense, including verbal and physical altercations. While it was primarily varsity soccer players involved in these altercations, it was not exclusive, according to Brackett. Brackett also noted that because of the intense negativity, student referees did not want to be involved in the intramural due to the fear of being reprimanded by the players for calls or no-calls.
Brackett stated that there were many attempts to resolve the issue, including going to the Head Soccer Coach, Tommy Dinuzzo, as well as a start up of two different soccer leagues; one competitive, and one recreational. “It didn’t work out,” Brackett said, “Every team thought they were competitive.”
Following these failed attempts, Brackett affirmed that there was deliberation between staff, students and faculty to make the choice to change the intramural.
“There was some backlash,” said Chad Snowman, lead referee for the FRC, “but not too much.” Snowman, a referee for many of the games that included conflict felt there was a cultural disconnect, stating, “What is acceptable in some other parts of the world in terms of physicality may not be here at UMF.”
Brackett assured that the Farmington Community Center offers Futsal, as well as an open gym where soccer can be played. Brackett was optimistic about the change and explained, “It gives us a chance to expand intramurals to those who aren’t normally interested.” Brackett assured that intramural numbers have not gone down since the announcement, but the first year of a new sport being offered is often low.
In the past the intramural has caused some serious injury, including a student breaking his leg while playing aggressively in a championship game.
A student who was at one of the games where conflict was involved felt the change was needed. “Playing in intramurals was a good time, but being around players with bad attitudes brought it down from a fun activity to something negative.”
Avery Isbell, a student participant was not impressed with the behavior that surrounded the intramurals explaining that the sport became too involved and revolved around varsity players.
Brackett did note that this is a hiatus, and that soccer intramurals could make a return gradually through one day tournament.