On Nov. 17, the Tufts men’s club soccer team flew to Foley, Ala., to participate in the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) National Championship tournament. The road there, however, has not been completely smooth.
After winning its own league and qualifying for the regional tournament, the Tufts club soccer team advanced all the way to the regional final, losing on penalty kicks. However, the team received an at-large bid, thanks to its success throughout the season.
Tufts club soccer is a student organization recognized by the Office for Campus Life. The club has grown to be a significant venture, with multiple teams and a competitive schedule, according to graduate student and team captain Andrew Bracken.
Unlike varsity sports teams at Tufts, Tufts Club Soccer receives its funding for the season from the Tufts Community Union Senate. This budget given to club soccer is meant to cover the different costs of their regular season.
“We’re underneath the... athletic department, but also get our funding from TCU,” Bracken said. “We use that funding in the regular season for game balls, [referees], fields and pretty much anything else we need.”
According to Lance Greene, assistant director of club and recreational sports at Tufts, this funding is determined on a yearly basis.
“I would assume they have a process with regard to [funding] based on past experiences … and that fluctuates on a year-to-year basis given the traveling to certain places and how much that may cost,” Greene said. “I think all of those things weigh into the decision of how much funding goes to each particular program.”
As of this year, Tufts club soccer received a total of $4,000, with $2,000 each being delegated to the A and B teams. In special cases, student organizations can reach out to the TCU Senate for supplementary funding, should they use up their original budget.
“We got more money for regionals from the TCU Senate,” Bracken said. “You can request [supplementary funding], and if they approve of it, they’ll send it to your account just as other clubs do.”
However, needing a very large budget for the trip to the national tournament, the club has had to turn in many directions to look for funding. Supplementary funding from TCU is limited in terms of which student organizations can receive it.
“Our total now [for nationals] is probably $20,000 to $22,000,” Bracken said. “TCU said that club sports only has three total supplementary funding requests, so that presented difficulty for our club director to allow us to use two out of the three.”
Having to fly to the tournament isn’t the only thing that is raising the budget for club soccer, according to Captain Colton Spirko.
“Obviously the trip down to Foley is costly,” Spirko wrote in an electronic message to the Daily. “We have to cover the costs of flights, lodging, transportation [to and from games], meals, and even more.”
Without access to supplementary funding, club soccer looked wherever they could at the university to scrape together parts of their budget.
“We’ve also reached out to President Monaco, whose office has been able to give us $1,000,” Bracken said. “It helps, but definitely doesn’t cover everything.”
With no other options, club succer turned to fundraising. The team has started a crowdfund, a version of GoFundMe that Tufts utilizes, and held a raffle with prizes for the winners.
“We’ve been able to do a bake sale and a raffle with gift cards and some technology so that kids can donate a lower amount and also have something to win,” Bracken said. “It's been a lot of work balancing a lot of complications between departments… [but] we’re hoping to still make more.”
With the money it has raised so far, the team was able to set off on its trip. Since it wasn’t able to raise enough, though, some spending may have to come out of players’ pockets. Nevertheless, the team plans to continue fundraising, even after the tournament is over, to ensure players are reimbursed.