Portland is “Soccer City, USA.” However, Portland State, Oregon’s largest college, does not have an official men’s soccer team. That doesn’t keep Vikings from playing the most-played sport in the world, however.
Portland State has two options for soccer players. There’s the club team and the intramural program. The club team is for more advanced players and anyone can play in the intramural league. The soccer league is offered every term at PSU. Outdoor leagues run in the fall and the spring; indoor soccer is played in the winter. All of the games are scheduled during the evenings. Games take place anytime between 5 and 10 p.m.
There are a lot of sports in the intramural program, but soccer is one of the most popular.
“Overall, soccer—both indoor and outdoor—has been the most popular and wanted intramural sport,” said intramurals coordinator Spencer Sorensen. “We have a wide array of people coming out to play. We have a huge international population coming out to play which is fun. Those leagues fill the quickest. We max out our space in our soccer leagues almost instantaneously.”
Intramural sports are not only for experienced players. Anybody can come out and participate in any sport. The purpose of the program is to help get students in shape, and most importantly, have fun. Sports are going to be competitive, but that doesn’t mean that the intramural program isn’t for everybody.
The soccer season is a bracket of matches between student-formed teams. There’s no barrier to entry for students, but results are kept and tallied online. Some compete seriously, and some teams are just for fun. Student teams this year include the “Purple cobras,” “Tree people FC” and “Your mom.”
“Come out, come play,” Sorenson said. “We have something for everybody. Some people think that they might not be good enough to play, or that they are out of shape. The thing about it is that that’s more than half of our league. People who just want to run around, and get away from the pressure of being a college student.”
For those players who don’t have a team put together, the program offers free agents. Free agents are players that are picked by a team on game day. That way anybody can show up when games are played, and not have to worry about having a team beforehand.
“We put in a lot of effort here to make teams,” Sorensen said. “We try to make those teams the best that we can to give people an outlet to play.”
The intramural soccer games are just like any other regular soccer game. There aren’t coaches, but the program gives the athletes referees and equipment. Equipment is kept locked up on Stott Field, where soccer games are played. Sorensen hires, trains and schedules all the referees.
“They come in, they do great work and they definitely don’t get paid enough,” Sorensen said about the referees. “They like it. They get to stay in shape and be around sports.”
The intramural program at PSU has records back to the 1980s. Sorensen says it could be as old as the 1960s. In 2007 the program was rebuilt. The Campus Rec department added an intramural director. Having an intramural director allowed the program to grow, because they were able to focus on aspects of all sports. The referee training got better, and as a whole, the program became more official.
Soccer games are on Wednesdays. Interested students can sign up at the Rec Center. Leagues fill up fast, so make sure to sign up quickly. To learn more, visit the Campus Rec website at pdx.edu/recreation.