Southern New Hampshire University offers a wide array of club sports, but until this year, there were no options to play women’s club soccer.
Meredith Basner (’22) is a business management student who also participates in the pilot program, Project Atlas. Project Atlas is a competency-based program that allows students to complete online courses on campus. Basner aspires to open her own company someday, preferably in construction. Basner participates in intramural sports, such as futsal, soccer and basketball. She is part of the hospitality club, and she loves building and spending time with friends and family.
As of this year, Basner added the title of women’s club soccer president to her list of activities and achievements.
Basner was inspired to create the team with fellow Project Atlas member and now co-captain, Chloe Cashin (’22) due to their ineligibility to compete in NCAA sports as a result of not having a set GPA. However, Basner’s competitive attitude compelled her toward travelling and competing against other schools, having a set practice and game schedule and a full team.
The planning began in January of 2019, where, at first, it was just speculation. Then, steps started falling into place. First, Basner had to get approval from the school, the board and Elena Nee, the SNHU Club Sports and Athletic Success Administrator. She had to find a league to play in, pay dues and ensure they were on the roster.
However, things became complicated when the women’s club soccer team wasn’t put on the roster until the end of the summer, leaving Basner with just two weeks to formulate the club constitution, find club officers and an advisor, schedule practice and field times, games and find out how they would travel to and from games.
An obstacle that Basner faced through the process was finding time to use Larkin Field for practices and games. Because Larkin Field is the main field used for recreational purposes, a small space is left for usage which was unapproved ahead of time.
“I definitely figured out how to use my resources and communicate better,” said Basner, “but I had to have patience and I knew it would all work out.”
As a first-year club sport, the team plays at a provisional level, or “dipping your toes in the water” as Basner described it. Once the minimum of four played games is exceeded, the women’s club soccer team will move onto a divisional status, which allows teams to participate in and travel to different tournaments across the United States.
The newly founded SNHU women’s club soccer team lost their first game against Northeastern University 10-0; they then came back swinging with a tied game of 0-0 against Merrimack College. The team played at Saint Anselm College against the University of Maine on September 22 and finished with a loss of 1-0.
Despite the scoreboard, Basner feels that the team has more than accomplished their goals.
“We’re all new. We’re all just trying to get back into the sport and get fit again. It was really nice to see everyone get to know each other — we’re starting to become a team,” Basner said.
While club sports games may not be as well-known as those for varsity sports, Basner notes that sports of any kind are important to forming community. Anyone can stop by Larkin Field and enjoy a game of friendly competition, watching both new and old athletes come together.
“It’s invigorating,” Basner said. “[Club sports] give people opportunities to get rid of stress and hang out with some really cool people.”