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Friendly soccer between University programs revitalizes student activities

On a gray, cold and damp October afternoon, students from the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences sport management program and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Department of World Languages, Literature and Linguistics met to play two friendly soccer matches in a one-day event called the Friendship Cup.

Professor Lisa Di Bartolomeo, Russian, Slavic and East European Studies coordinator with the WLLL department, contacted Gonzalo Bravo, CPASS associate professor of sport management, to suggest that the programs host an event for the students. “It’s been almost 20 months since the COVID 19 pandemic erupted. Many of the extracurricular activities students have been involved in the past had been temporarily suspended or significantly changed,” Di Bartolomeo said.

The annual Diversity Cup, a soccer tournament organized by CPASS sport management faculty since 2015, is one such popular event that has been absent due to the pandemic. The Diversity Cup traditionally included students from the entire university. Students from WLLL had been frequent participants most years.

The 2021 Friendship Cup included two teams from each program and despite the not-so-perfect weather, players, fans and faculty attended the Friday, Oct. 22 afternoon match at the student recreation fields outside the CPASS building. Teams were made of four players each, with a minimum of one opposite gender player. The Sport Management One team won the competition, a group made of a mix of graduate and undergraduate students in sport management, including Whitney Harris, Michael Guah, Prince Baidoe, and Eloi Dos Santos.

Bravo emphasized the value of student extramural activities. “These events are not only good for the soccer enthusiast, but also for faculty. This is the time we faculty can relate with our students in a friendlier and more informal atmosphere. That helps us to know our students,” he said.

“We want to thank faculty and students from WLLL and sport management who showed up that afternoon to support their teams. Also, we appreciate the volunteer referees who helped that day, Yoran Popovic, Steven Tekesky and Adam Burchell, all members of the WVU men’s soccer team,” Bravo added.