Dusting off the cleats

Sophomore Nash Kaye rushes to the ball against Bowling Green on Sept. 9. Photo courtesy of @butlerclubsoccer on Instagram

DAVID JACOBS | SPORTS REPORTER | drjacobs@butler.edu 

When it comes to club sports, the word “club” tends to not convey the competitiveness of the sport. At Butler, there are more than 20 competitive club sports offered ranging from soccer to basketball and even pickleball. 

Of the club sports offered, one of the most competitive is the men’s soccer team. Two years removed from reaching the Nirsa Men’s Soccer Open Division Championship in Alabama, the team has been building off of those expectations. So far this year, the men’s club soccer team has gone 1-1-1 with a win over Ball State. 

The team’s president, junior biology major Max Brasseale, serves as a player-coach for the team. The title comes with a lot of responsibilities, such as making sure the team stays serious. 

“[On a scale of 1-10 in seriousness], I would say a seven,” Brasseale said. “The intentions are to be as serious as possible, but with school and everything going on it is something for everyone to have fun with. You cannot expect it to be a 10 [in seriousness] like the real men’s team where they have an obligation [since majority] are getting paid a scholarship for it.” 

With the competitive nature that comes with the team, Brasseale implemented a new team formation for them to run this season. Although it will help the team strategically on Saturdays, installing a new formation comes with more competitive practices to prepare for each of the team’s games. 

For sophomore exploratory business major Nash Kaye, certain prior rivalries have the chance to factor into the competitiveness of the games. 

“The games get pretty competitive and serious,” Kaye said. “Notre Dame is always the biggest and best game. They have a lot of former D1 players. [Since] we play local teams, [you get matched up against] people you knew in high school, played with and against so it can get very competitive.” 

A big part of what separates the competitive club sports apart from intramurals or non-competitive clubs is the tryout and cut process. 

For the men’s club team, they had three straight days of tryouts during the first three days of school. Making cuts after each day, they cut their numbers down from about 60 to the current roster size of 24. They ended up with five executive members, 11 other returning players and eight rookies making up the final roster. 

Tryouts get easier as a player gets more years under his belt. Tyler Foulk, a junior finance and marketing double major, remembers the daunting first tryout he had. 

“Tryouts freshman year were a lot harder than these past couple of years,” Foulk said. “I really had to prove myself and prove my ability on the field.” 

Some may say club soccer is not the dream, especially for players who have aspirations of playing in college. For Kaye, however, club soccer was the right next step. 

“I have been playing soccer since I was a child,” Kaye said. “I looked at playing soccer in college, [and] even talked to the coach here. But, ended up not wanting to play in college and found a club here and have [been] enjoying it.” 

Growing up playing soccer is not uncommon, especially for those who grew up in Indiana around state-wide youth programs such as Indy Premier and Indiana Fire. However, falling out of love for the game, then finding it again as a sophomore in college is pretty rare. 

For Brasseale, it was actually club soccer that rekindled his love for the game entirely. 

“I played soccer my whole life,” Brasseale said. “I was fortunate in high school to win three state championships and was a captain my senior year. [However], once I came here I actually did not enjoy soccer. My high school coach kind of ruined it for me, so I took the year off and came back [playing club] and really enjoyed it.” 

The team will continue to enjoy the season behind the leadership of Brasseale as they head on the road the next three weekends with games against Notre Dame, Dayton, Indiana, Bowling Green and Toledo. 


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