Utah Valley’s Men’s Club Soccer prepares to compete at a high level
Utah Valley University houses many extraordinary club teams, including the men’s club soccer team. The UVU men’s club soccer team is a consistent participant in nationals, chasing the dreams of hoisting the national championship title.
“I played three seasons with the club team and then moved into the coaching in ‘12,” said head coach Nick Adams on coaching the team. “I’ve really enjoyed it, helped the club program really progress and grow to where from 2013 until now, excluding covid in 2020 and 2017, the club team has participated in nationals.”
Coach Adams is currently in his second tenure with the Wolverines. His first tenure was from 2012 to 2015 when he had to stop in order to obtain his master’s degree. After being asked, Adams rejoined the coaching staff in 2018 as the goalie’s coach for two seasons. After the 2019 season, then-head coach Jared Vogelsberg had to step away to take care of his family, paving the way for Adams to take over the program once again.
In 2018, the team co-qualified in the open division with UCLA (one of two divisions for nationals), qualifying as an at-large bid for nationals. Two forwards for the Wolverines accounted for over 20 goals between the two of them. One of the two forwards also played on the U.S. National Futsal Team.
“We’ve had some good beloved alumni,” stated Adams. “We have players from here, from Texas, from the African Nations, Columbia, [and] Portugal. So we have a good mix of national and international players, so it’s fun.”
Last year, the team took BYU to the wire and forced them to earn their victory, only losing 3-2. The outcome led to teams at nationals developing their game plans against BYU based on the performance the Wolverines gave the Cougars. The Cougars have won the national championship six times in the last eight years, including the past season.
UVU competes in a conference filled with in-state foes, playing against BYU, Weber State, Utah State, the University of Utah, Boise State, and new-member Southern Utah who will jump into the conference this year. The Wolverines generally compete in 10 conference games, both home and away. The team usually plays on Friday or Saturday nights.
However, the schedule gets intense during the regionals and nationals. During their national run last year, the Wolverines played five games in two and a half days before falling to Boston College in the semifinals. If they had beaten Boston College, they would’ve played six games within three days.
As for recruiting, the team needs a 75% student population in order to compete in any league. With the team wanting to compete in regionals and nationals, every player needs to be a UVU student.
Adams uses his connections from being a former high school soccer head coach by allowing high school players who are planning on attending UVU to get into contact with him through their head coaches if they wish to keep playing. Adams also knows the coaches at Salt Lake Community College, Utah State Eastern, and Snow College, which are all junior colleges that have sponsored programs. He says that the head coaches will have players reach out to him if they plan to transfer to UVU.
“There’s a lot of referral process that goes along and then a vast majority of the players recruit their friends to come play,” explained Adams.
For trying out, anyone can come tryout in mid-August. The roster can get complicated since many players have summer jobs, like summer sales, so they don’t have to work during the season, which can lead to many players pushing how long they’re gone for the summer. Therefore, if they’re a returning player that Adams is familiar with, he will let them back into the team. However, the expectations are higher, and their spot is lost if there is a group of better players.
Adams tries to mirror the club team as any other school-sponsored program when it comes to qualifications and expectations for the players on the team. Players are also expected to be compliant with COVID-19, getting vaccinated and weekly testing (if needed). If they don’t comply, they don’t play. Commitment is another expectation as well, as the team practices at 5 a.m. to accommodate Adams’s work schedule at the Veterans Administration as a former veteran.
“I work 40 hours a week, and then I coach the club team. I don’t get paid, I volunteer my time because I love it because I have been in the program,” stated Adams. “I’ve played for the program. So it’s kind of like me giving back to the opportunities I had when I was going to school. It’s all player-funded. So players pay a player fee which covers a vast majority of the expenses… like referee fees, league fees, and tournament fees… If we qualify for regionals or we go to nationals, their fees pay for those different things.”
The team began streaming their home games and vlogging nationals games on their Facebook page. Schedule and live streams times for the fall season can also be found on the page. The team may create a YouTube channel in the fall to give easier game access for the families of out-of-state and international students to watch. The team would accept any donations of broadcast equipment.