UNC senior Hudson Owens thought there wasn’t enough of an outlet for the soccer lovers on campus. That’s why he started the UNC Global Soccer Society about a year ago.
Owens said the Global Soccer Society reaches the soccer community through different areas and aims to satisfy the community’s longing to connect through the sport.
“You see a need that isn’t fulfilled and you fulfill it yourself,” Owens said.
On most Friday nights, the society organizes pick up games, which Owens said seemed to be the biggest demand. It also puts on FIFA gaming tournaments, professional league viewing parties and group attendance at the men’s varsity games.
Owens said the overarching goal of the organization is to translate the level of passion of European soccer fans to the U.S., and UNC specifically.
“It’s life for them,” he said. “I would love to bring that back over here.”
He said he gets a tangible feeling for fellow students’ love of the game whenever he wears his professional soccer jerseys around school.
“I can’t walk 200 yards without someone stopping me and talking to me about my jersey,” he said.
Owens said his vision for the club developed after a meaningful conversation with his late father, who passed away in 2015 from cancer.
“He was saying to me that I should do whatever I’m passionate about in this world,” he said. “This is a way that I am doing what I’m passionate about.”
He said soccer has been a part of him since he was four years old and it is something he and his father shared. He has played all his life and he has stayed involved with the game in college through refereeing, intramurals and this club.
Tristin Moeller, spokesperson for the organization, said he wants to see the soccer culture grow in the U.S.
“Any way that Global Soccer Society can help unite the soccer community and expand the soccer community, that’s ultimately our goal,” he said.
Moeller said FallFest was an encouraging sign to achieving their goals, bringing in 300 new members, transforming their doubts about the club’s success into excitement about where it can go.
The club doesn’t just reach college students. An additional aspect of the mission is to create relationships with the younger generation. One way it does this is by encouraging members to volunteer at Rainbow Soccer, a youth soccer league where college students can coach and mentor.
Another way is by working with UNC Children’s Hospital. On Nov. 6, a patient at the children’s hospital will act as an honorary captain for the UNC men’s varsity soccer team and carry the ball onto the field at the start of the game.
“It’s a really small way that I can make a little bit of good come out of this horrible situation,” Owens said.
Owens said he also hopes to implement a pen pal program between members of the men’s soccer team and patients at UNC Children’s Hospital.
Anna Lee Clark, the director of special events at UNC Children's Hospital, said Owens has been very passionate about this program and wanting to make a difference for patients.
“It means a lot to UNC Children’s to make a difference in the lives of our patients and make their days a little bit brighter,” she said.
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