The men’s and women’s college soccer teams are no longer the only Panthers on the soccer field. As of this fall, Middlebury now has a fully functioning men’s club team.
Founded by Blaise Siefer ’23, 5 and Marco Fengler ’23, the club entered the field for the first time this fall, after spending months in the yard.
According to Fengler, the process of launching the team began two years ago, when he and Siefer first arrived on campus and the college had recently cut their junior men’s football team. But even though the program was gone, interest in football remained high.
“We had a lot of guys interested in football, but we lacked the organization and the infrastructure,” Fengler said.
Seeking to create a more structured program, Fengler and Siefer reached out to Middlebury club athletic director Doug Connolly. Although he supported the club’s vision, he explained that there were still many obstacles, some of which included medical supervision, budget cuts and time on the pitch.
As things finally seemed to start to take off, the Covid-19 pandemic brought club football to a screeching halt.
“It was tough,” Fengler said. “We were sent home in the spring and fall, we realized the school had a lot of work to do so now was not the right time.”
Not to be discouraged, the couple continued to operate behind the scenes throughout the 2021 spring semester. After lengthy discussions with the Office of Student Activities, they were finally given the green light in May.
“We still had a lot to do, but we knew we finally had a team,” Fengler said.
Middlebury men’s club football took its full form this fall, donning navy and white jerseys on the pitch. Led by Fengler and Siefer as co-presidents, the club now has a full executive board, consisting of three class captains (Otis Miliken ’24, Ben Knudsen ’23, Hugo Bocker ’22), the aforementioned two presidents. and the social president Captain Rudolph ’23 .5. The team consists of a travel team of 27 who train regularly and play outdoors in addition to a training team who also train several times a week.
“There is fluidity between the two [the travel roster and the practice squad], however, ”Fengler said. “If the guys work hard in training they can potentially be part of the travel team.”
The team is in great shape on the pitch with an unbeaten start to the season. After a decisive victory over club UVM in their opener of the season, the team played a hard-fought draw against Clarkson before securing back-to-back wins over University of Massachusetts Lowell and Brandeis.
The team are currently listed as a provisional team for this season, so they won’t be allowed to compete in the regional championships, but they have big goals for the year nonetheless.
“We want to have an unbeaten season,” Fengler said. “We’re playing a fast but composed game so the fans can expect a lot of goals as well.”
You can keep up to date with the club’s schedule on the team’s Instagram page as well as on the club’s page on Attendance. Middlebury club football will face UVM B and Dartmouth B at 9.30am and 4.45pm this Sunday in Middlebury.
Editor’s Note: Blaise Siefer is the Senior Sports Editor for The Campus.