By Brodie Reuter
The JCU Gladiators men’s football (soccer) team has a promising season in front of them as the team has many returning players, including degree seeking students. The addition of some new study abroad students bumps the total number of players up to 20. According to the returning players their biggest rivalry is The American University of Rome. The Gladiators have just started practicing to get ready for the season opener in October.
Coach Emilio Delellis said that having a team with a high player turnover does not mean that the Gladiators have a handicap. Even though his players are constantly changing and the ability levels often differ greatly, it is the love of the game that pulls them together, he said.
The team has already managed to find some harmony and play as though they have been together for several seasons. Delellis said that having returning players who are able to cross the language barrier make the team work together as well.
The difficulty is the lack of sufficient practice time. The Gladiators have practices late in the evenings and it requires taking a bus to get to the field. This inconvenience in itself requires an added level of dedication to the team from both the players and the coach, Delellis said.
Antonio Diep, a study abroad student on the team, signed up because he wanted to live the European style. “I wanted to experience a different setting for soccer, being in a different country and playing with students from around the world,” he said.
Diep has been playing soccer all of his life and plays at his college in the United States. The style is different but the love for the game is the same. To keep up on the team stay tuned to The Matthew.