Soccer enthusiasts and fans alike find ways to socialize during lockdown
Since last March, Ryerson University has paused athletics and other clubs as COVID-19 forced the university to close its doors.
As a result, students have had to get creative to find ways to pass time and connect with one another.
Jeffarson James, a third-year chemical engineering student, has kick-started a new club at Ryerson dedicated to virtual soccer. “I believe it is extremely beneficial (social interaction) during this pandemic,” said James.
James said he got the idea to start Soccer World Ryerson from a friend who is an executive member of the Soccer World variant at York University.
He plans to host FIFA tournaments, Premier League and Champions League watch alongs on Discord and, hopefully, some actual soccer when the pandemic is over. “We just want to grow the soccer community at Ryerson,” James said.
According to a study done by Ball State University, students are happier and more successful in their schooling when they are exposed to more social interaction.
“Students rely on their social networks at school to make sense of life,” said Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, chair of the department of management in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University.
“Since school has been remote, and especially since the lockdown started, I’ve noticed that I have a lot of downtime which I’m not used to,” Shayan Hassanzadeh, a fourth-year business student and fellow soccer fan, said. “With all the in-person clubs shutting down I think doing things remotely is a great alternative.”
Hassanzadeh added that he believes a soccer fan club will draw a big crowd at Ryerson.
Though Soccer World Ryerson is still in its infancy, James and his co-founders, Hilal Popalzai and Jeffrey Yan, believe the foundation they are building, with the help of Soccer World YorkU, will grow the club into something much bigger.
“We have received interest from 30 plus people and we expect that number to keep growing. Whether the students are new to the sport or a loyal soccer enthusiast, there is a place for them in Soccer World Ryerson,” said James.
If you are interested in joining the club, a sign up form can be found here.