Iona women’s club soccer kicks off inaugural season


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The women’s club team played their first game on Sep. 27 on Mazella Field.

Catherine Drohan, Contributing Writer

The women’s club soccer team got their inaugural season underway on Sept. 27 against Montclair State University as Iona pursues a new initiative for club sports at the college. 


 Founded by senior captain April Cabral, the team consists of 17 female students who wish to continue their passion for competitive soccer.  


Cabral came to Iona College in hopes of being able to continue playing soccer in a fun and non-pressuring environment. Upon arriving on campus, Cabral says she was shocked to find there was no club team for women. This left her to play soccer with the men’s group, which further ignited her dream to start Iona’s first women’s club soccer team.  


Iona hired Matthew Grimaldi to be the head of club sports on campus in May. Cabral connected with him in the summer, and along with newly-hired head coach Brandon Olivieri, the club team was established and began recruitment for the fall.  


There was not much interest from the student body when the team was announced. The disconnection of the summer proved hard for finding interested players, but Cabral found a roster of ten, which is one player short of a starting lineup. However, throughout the beginning weeks of the fall semester, the roster was extended to 17.  


The team’s preseason practices were limited to less than five due to scheduling conflicts. Club sports do not get preferential class scheduling like Division I teams, so classes and other engagements make it hard for the team to have full practices. Medical clearances for players who joined last minute was also a slow process.  


After the team had put in some hours practicing, they were ready for their first game in the Tri-State Intramural League against Montclair State on Mazzella Field. They played in front of an excited crowd of parents and students. Iona fell to Montclair 3-0, but the team felt every emotion except disappointment after the game.  


“We were having so much fun,” Cabral said. “At the end of the game, everyone had smiles on their faces and felt super excited and blessed to be able to be on a founding team like this.”  


The team lost 6-0 to Fordham University in their second game on Sept. 29. Despite this troubling score, Cabral says the team is happy at the way the group’s chemistry has grown. They all know that many other schools’ club teams have been established for much longer, and that they must be patient and optimistic for the future.  


The team hopes to recruit more players as the season progresses, and whether they win or lose, the girls are proud to be a part of this historic squad, according to Cabral. 


 “The whole object is to have fun,” Cabral said. “We’re competitive but at the end of the day, we all have the same passion: it’s just to play soccer…It’s something that’s been a big part of our lives for a long time and we miss it.”  


Cabral sees the club becoming stronger in coming games this season, and hopes that her squad can grab their first win soon.