Central’s soccer club competes in friendly against Saudi Student Association


Photo by Jordan Cameron/The Observer

Freshmen Abdul Aldhait (right) is a member of the Saudi Student Association and the Central soccer club

Samuel Beaumonte, Staff Reporter

With seven new players on Central’s Soccer Club’s roster and just eight weeks of practicing together, the club looks forward to their first friendly match against the Saudi Student Association (SSA) on May 6—a game that’s been years in the making.

“We’ve been waiting to play against them… but we’ve been busy lately,” said Soccer Club President TJ Burford, a forward for the team who joined the club at the start of the year. “From what I’ve heard through the grapevine, they’ve been wanting to play with us for years, and since we have some free time, we were able to fit a game in.”

Spring quarter is the shortest quarter for the club. It has only six weeks of competitive play, most of which is focused on tournament invites and friendly games.

Originally, the club was going to play against Tri-Cities on May 6 and 7, but that game was pushed forward to April 30 before being cancelled altogether.

“We just got done with a tournament in Pullman playing against [division-I] schools as the only [division II] to compete, and came away with a tie and two losses,” Burford said. “We had only been practicing for three weeks together, which means only six practices, and it takes time to for a team to get used to each other.”

Despite the immediate attention the SSA game demands, getting seven new players for the quarter is huge for the club.

“I think that for the situation that we’re in we did well and we could keep it up through spring and into fall with a lot of returning players,” Burford said.

While the club has been running year round, its roster sees many changes throughout the year. Sometimes it’s a loss of members because students get busy with classes and have to take a break, and  in some cases they’ll have a much deeper roster because some players have more free time than in previous quarters or have simply learned of the club for the first time.

“I came in with a large group of people,” said freshman keeper Alex Van Zaylen. “It took me a while to get comfortable, but everyone was inviting and I feel that I synced up pretty well with the defense.”

Another new member to the team is freshman left wing Abdul Aldhait. He is a member of Central’s Soccer Club and the SSA.

“I’ve been part of SSA for two quarters, but I’ll be playing for the club; I really want to challenge them,” Aldhait said. “There’s multiple players who are excited to play against [Central’s] club. I don’t know why, but it should be a very exciting game. They really want to come and show off their skills here.”

With both teams preparing for a long-awaited game, most players forget (or don’t mind) that it’s a friendly match. With so few opportunities to play in the spring, the club looks forward to any game it can get into.

“There hasn’t been a game we haven’t tried hard to win,” Van Zaylen said. “Even if it’s a friendly we plan to go all out.”