Everyone deserves the right to play soccer. Or, at least, that’s what Sarah Berschinski SC ’17 argued during her sophomore year when she, along with other students, fought to form a Claremont Colleges club soccer team.
The girls were told that there was a rule that “no club could exist if there was a varsity equivalent (aka Claremont-Mudd-Scripps or Pomona-Pitzer Division III teams).” But, Berschinski, dubious, researched the rule and found that it no longer applied.
“It was a very long process and a very long fight,” she informed TSL. “I, along with Ella Kim [SC ’17], protested and presented to a 5C committee to get the club approved.”
All good things came with time: Berschinski succeeded in attaining permission to form a team, and has reaped the benefits of that permission for three years now. She credits Pomona-Pitzer club sports director Brandon Johnson with helping her do so.
“My favorite memory [with the club] is the moment we were finally able to get the team approved…thanks to the help of Brandon Johnson, [who] fought with us,” she recalled. “It was such an amazing feeling to know that all of our hard work [had] paid off and we could offer women’s club soccer to people at the Claremont Colleges, an option that had really been missing for people who still wanted to play competitive soccer.”
For Ella Harris SC ’20, who entered into the club’s third year of existence this fall, the soccer squad has indeed proved an invaluable resource.
“I like that even though it’s club, it’s super competitive,” Harris, who plays goalkeeper, commented when asked about her experience. “It’s not just a blow-off team. People put a lot of work in, [and] we’re all really close.”
“My favorite part of playing club soccer is the atmosphere of the team,” Berschinski added. “Everyone loves to play soccer and have fun, but we’re also committed and skilled soccer players. We work hard and have a lot of fun doing it!”
The team plays in the West Coast Soccer Association League (WCSAL) against teams from Loyola Marymount University, University of San Diego, and California State University (CSU), San Bernardino. They typically play each opponent twice: once at home on the Scripps’ Alumnae Field and once on the other team’s turf.
This season, they began with a four-game undefeated streak, which was broken two weeks ago by CSU San Marcos. Since then, they’ve struggled to get back on track, losing three games in a row. But, in two back-to-back games on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6, the team showed their grit. Though they lost on the first day to CSU San Bernardino, they regrouped and bounced back the following day to conquer Loyola Marymount 1-0.
Harris credits the win to frustration after losing three games, their hard work in practice, and the team’s new coach, Tony Basso.
“[Tony] is very prepared for each practice,” Harris said. “He comes to the games and knows what he’s talking about.”
Berschinski echoed that they “are really excited about working with such an experienced and professional coach.”
The team hopes for two more victories in their last two games of the season: this coming Saturday, Nov. 12, at home, and Saturday, Nov. 19, when they will play an away game at CSU Channel Island. Although for typical away games, upperclassmen who have cars drive their teammates to the matches, their last weekend looks a little different—as Harris exclaimed, “we play on an island, and we have to take a boat!”
The Claremont Colleges women battle to up their record to 5-3-1 this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on the Scripps Alumnae Field.