Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Women’s club soccer team excited for nationals after successful fundraising campaign

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(GoFundMe.com)

(GoFundMe.com)

For most varsity teams, making nationals is the ultimate goal, and when they achieve it, they rarely have to worry about raising the money in order to go wherever it is being held. For a club team, however, the financial challenges can prove just as great as on-the-field challenges.

This was the situation the women’s club soccer team faced as it successfully raised $7,000 to finance a trip to Memphis, Tennessee for the national tournament from Nov. 20-22.

Behind an improved offense, the Minutewomen finished their 2014 season with a 5-2 record, the best they have recorded in their six-year history. However, with limited university funding, the team faced an uphill battle to garner enough funding for the trip.

According to captains Alyssa Lewandowski and Erin Donahue, the Minutewomen quickly received financial support after setting up a GoFundMe account to pursue its monetary goal. The goal of the account was to seek contributions for the trip’s traveling, transportation and hotel expenses.

“We set it to make $1,000 in the first week and by the end of the first we almost had it,” Lewandowski said. “And we managed to raise up to $3,000 in a week just from that.”

After GoFundMe took its percentage of the earnings, the Minutewomen were still left with over $2,800 to start with.

With more than 50 donors so far, the total donations are now up to $3,250, according to the team’s GoFundMe page.

In addition to the online account, the team has found numerous ways on campus or locally to raise awareness and gain support for their prospective trip. In particular, the Minutewomen recently ran a bake sale that managed to draw an additional $450 in just two days.

According to Donahue, Stackers Pub in Amherst also agreed to sponsor the team for a night, giving the Minutewomen a pair of Boston Celtics’ tickets to raffle off.

“We ended up splitting that money with the boys’ (club) team (who are also going to nationals), but we ended up with $500 from that plus a $75 check for each of us who worked there that night,” Donahue said.

The team is also waiting to deposit cans that they collected at the UMass football game last Wednesday. The can collection was part of an EPA challenge that the team decided to do, as they managed to fill an entire truck bed with cans.

The 2014 NIRSA National Soccer Championships starts Thursday at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis.

Minutewomen’s 2014 success powered by chemistry

En route to its best season in its six years, the women’s club soccer team boasted an offensive unit that saw much more success than in past seasons, according to Lewandowski and Donahue.

Helping to lead the offensive charge were midfielder Katie Han and defender Stephanie Logan, who each cited chemistry as a major factor in the team’s goal production.

“A lot of the returners this year were more unified and we actually kept in contact with each other,” Han said. “It really helps when a team is closer to go out and perform well.”

Han said that this closeness helped the team find early success in its season opener, where it won 10-0 despite only having two prior practices to the season.

“Everyone just understands each other more this year and we got off on the right foot to start this season,” Han said, referring to the season-opener. “It really was a confidence booster.”

While the returning players were close, it also took some recruiting on their part to bring in new talent, according to Lewandowski, who said the team started about six new members in its 11-player lineup.

In total, the 2014 team brought on 10 new players, coming from a pool of 40 students who showed up for tryouts. Lewandowski said the Minutewomen were able to attract such a large turnout through channels like Facebook, flyers in the dorms, the events expo and word-of-mouth through friends.

“Over the summer I received about 20 emails from girls who were interested in the team,” Lewandowski said.

Now, after a successful regular season, Logan said that this combination of talent and closeness has led to a positive aura heading into the trip to Memphis.

“Since we made nationals, we’ve been practicing every day and more people are showing up and working harder than ever,” Logan said. “It’s been a great environment to work in.”

Nick Souza can be reached at [email protected]

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