Moving from all the way from California to Alabama to start your freshman year of college is an intimidating thing. For Eric Rogstad, a senior at the University, he wanted to get involved during his first year in Tuscaloosa. Having played soccer most of his life, joining the club team was the obvious solution.
“It’s been a great way to socialize and meet new people,” Rogstad said. “Soccer is something I’ve loved throughout my life and it’s a good way to bond through that connection of love of the game.”
The UA men’s club soccer team has become a close group of friends who participate in something they all enjoy together. The group of 22 players also meet up every two weeks off the field for team dinners at local restaurants. The dinners are used as a way to get sponsorships from restaurants and provide a great time for the club members to get to know each other better.
Team President Jake Jackson said the team dinners give everyone bonding time away from the stress and intensity of practices and games.
“The group that we’ve had has kind of been together since we got to school so it has been a really tight group and has been a whole lot of fun,” Jackson said.
The club is led by coach Arturo Zambrano who attended the University and was a member of the club as a student. Zambrano is the one who organizes the team dinners, helps them get the sponsorships and he undoubtedly plays a role in the team’s success both on and off the field.
“He [Zambrano] is an authoritarian figure but he is also one of the guys,” Rogstad said. “He can bond with us on a personal basis because he knows we are college kids, and he knows what we are going through.”
The group’s chemistry has translated into recent success on the field. Last season the team made it to the regional tournament at the campus of the University of Florida. To win the region, the team had to beat two-time-defending region champ Auburn. For Rogstad beating Auburn and advancing to the regionals was the highlight of his career at Alabama.
“That was a very big game for us because that was a lock to get us to regionals, and it was the first time since I’ve been here that we went to regionals so it was a big game for us,” Rogstad said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports