Any Chicagoan knows that after spending some time in the city, you learn to embrace all four seasons. And yes, that even includes winter. This mentality is what has allowed the Booth Soccer Club to be one of the most vibrant and thriving communities on campus—we find ways to embrace the sport no matter the weather.
Soccer has been a major part of my life. I played on my high school and college teams and have been an avid English Premier League follower (come on Chelsea!). So, it should come as no surprise that the Soccer Club has played a key role in helping me settle in and adjust to both schoolwork and life in Chicago. It has helped me to de-stress during recruiting, introduced me to some amazing like-minded people, and, more than anything, allowed me to enjoy a game of soccer whenever I find myself missing home.
The Booth Soccer Club takes part in two tournaments each year, organized by UT Austin and UCLA Anderson. Last weekend, as snow flurries were spotted in Chicago, 35 Boothies headed to Los Angeles for the annual UCLA Anderson Intramural Soccer Tournament. The tournament featured 19 teams from business schools around the United States, including two teams from Chicago Booth. The competition is jam packed with each team playing three to four games on Saturday and the teams that advance to further rounds play an additional three games on Sunday. All in pursuit of winning the tournament. To say that the competition tests your limits would be an understatement!
The Booth Soccer Club team had reached the quarterfinals last year (which unfortunately had to be suspended mid-way due to the wildfires in LA) so expectations were high as we landed in LA. Over the course of the weekend, Booth’s two teams played three and five games respectively. Booth’s second team unfortunately couldn’t make it past the group stages, bowing out after a loss to CMU Tepper School of Business. The first team however, played extremely well, progressing into the knockout stages. After a hard-fought game against Berkley Haas, the team lost in extra time in what turned out to be an extremely close and exciting game! In the end, our victors – Berkley Haas – took the top honors, winning the tournament under the floodlights of UCLA.
After the tournament ended, the team got some much-needed down time to recover, explore beautiful LA and enjoy each other’s company! Amongst other places, the team grabbed amazing food at Abbot Kinney Boulevard before heading to the rooftop bar of Hotel Erwin on Venice Beach. This was the ideal way to cap off a memorable weekend.
Looking back, the tournament has been one of the highlights of my time at Booth. Not only did playing three games in one day stretch our bodies to the extreme, the fun we had off the field helped us bond together like never before. I have come back to Chicago with a bruised body, a whole bunch of new friends, and amazing memories of a sunny weekend in LA!