Two weekends ago, Swarthmore Intramural Soccer, one of the most popular sports leagues on campus, concluded its season. This season, the championship was contested by five teams: FSFA, Retired Lads, FC Phi Psi, Tom Wilmots, and Slugmore FC. FSFA won the regular season with a record of 3-0-1, including an 8-2 rout of Slugmore FC, who finished the season without a win and was eliminated from postseason play. Retired Lads, composed primarily of former varsity soccer players and current club players, came in second, with FC Phi Psi in third and Tom Wilmots in fourth to complete the championship bracket.
Tom Wilmots upset FSFA in the first semifinal matchup, avenging a regular season defeat. The second semifinal matchup saw Retired Lads defeat FC Phi Psi with ease. However, immediately afterwards, Retired Lads was accused of rule violations, and they were disqualified from further play. The specific rule in question stated that a team may only have two club soccer players on their roster. Retired Lads technically only had two rostered Men’s Club Soccer players on their team, but because most of their players had appeared in games for club soccer, they were disqualified. Retired Lads member Joaquin Delmar Perez ’18 spoke regarding the disqualification.
“They should have just eliminated us at the beginning if they wanted to. IM should make it clear in the future what the skill level limit should be for the tournament and clarify the rules regarding club soccer players,” he shared. “We stayed within the bounds of the rules, but if intramural wants to maintain a certain skill level, they need to clarify their rules so that such an issue will not occur again. At the end of the day, we just wanted to make a team because a lot of us were ex-varsity players and we just wanted to have fun.”
Because of Retired Lads’ disqualification, it was FC Phi Psi that advanced to the finals. The stage was set, with FC Phi Psi playing Tom Wilmots in an intense championship game. The game certainly lived up to all the hype, with some spectacular defense and goaltending from both sides. After two twenty-minute regulation halves and a ten minute golden-goal overtime, the score was left at 0-0. Tom Wilmots received fantastic defensive performances from Tom Wilmots ’17, Rajnish Yadav ’18, Sawyer Lake ’20, and Brian Gibbs ’17, while Brandon McKenzie ’17, Aidan Miller ’17, and Charlie Levitt ’19 led the charge on offense. FC Phi Psi’s defense was led by Christian Vik ’19, while the offense was powered by the dynamic duo of John Arth ’19 and Zander Levitz ’20, who were a force to be reckoned with all season.
This scene is all too familiar for both teams. In a previous regular season matchup, FC Phi Psi and Tom Wilmot ended regulation tied at 2-2. Intramural rules state that there can be no overtime or penalty kicks in regular season play. Nonetheless, both teams wanted a winner, and penalty kicks were used to decide that. After an intense set of penalty kicks and incredible goalkeeping by Aidan Greer ’18, Tom Wilmots walked away victorious.
Again, we find FC Phi Psi and Tom Wilmots grinding until the end, but this time, for the championship. At the end of golden-goal time, the game moved to penalty kicks. At the end of penalty kicks, Tom Wilmots emerged victorious, after more fantastic goalkeeping by Greer.
“Before I took [the] PK, it was nerve-wracking, but I remembered Teddy Roosevelt’s quote: ‘It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,’” said Lake, regarding his converted penalty kick in the shootout and the eventual victory.
“When I scored the goal, I knew my teammates were proud of me. It felt great to represent Tom Wilmots’ name. Our team had talent and chemistry, and that is what drove us to victory,” he said.
The talent and chemistry was clear enough. After McKenzie secured the win with the final penalty kick, Tom Wilmots rushed together and dogpiled in excitement.