The University of South Dakota has 16 athletic teams, six men’s teams and ten women’s teams. Cumulatively, student-athletes on campus participate in 11 separate sports: Football, basketball, soccer, softball, track and field, swimming and diving, cross country, tennis, golf, volleyball, and triathlon. However, these are not the only sports Coyotes play.
USD is home to nine club sports. They include: archery, baseball, cricket, fencing, soccer, tennis, trap shooting, ultimate frisbee and women’s rugby. Each club includes a board of representatives on the Sports Club Council. Club representatives include positions such as president and vice president, treasurer, and secretary. They work with university administration to help their clubs function.
“Our president, Mikayala Schroeder, has put in a lot of work with administration and has built a good relationship,” said freshman rugby team member Eden Liebenthal. “Rugby is a very physical sport, but we don’t have access to a physical trainer, and we get last dibs on practice space.”
Representatives of each club sport are tasked with finding coaches, players, practice space, equipment to use and scheduling games. Club sports are entirely student-run and depend entirely on the time and resources of the students. This brings about many different challenges NCAA teams do not typically face.
“This is a completely student-led club, so in order to hold practices, games, meetings, etc., we need to work around the schedules of our executive members to ensure we have someone able to host,” said sophomore Regan Quick, secretary of the ultimate frisbee team. “In addition to that, the job of finding drills, setting up plays, and properly explaining a game that is relatively unknown has been a consistent problem we’ve had to overcome.”
One of the biggest problems facing club teams is lack of awareness. Club sports obviously do not have the same type of funding NCAA programs receive and recruit teams on their own. The most common place to find information about club sports is through the school’s Student Organization Fair.
“We make sure to always have a table set up during the activity fair in order to gain the attention of as many newer students as we can,” said Quick. “We have members who played in high school and on other club teams, and they’ve stepped into executive roles to act as coaches.”
Besides the Student Organization Fair, most clubs rely on simple word of mouth.
“I first heard about the trap club from my roommate,” said freshman Logan Johnson, member of the trap shooting club. “He knew I liked to shoot and invited me to come out, and I enjoyed it.”
Club sports are a great way to get involved for people who are interested in sports or staying active, or for people who have played before and don’t get much of a chance to anymore, said freshman Alex Arango, member of the freshman men’s soccer club.
“I used to play soccer throughout my entire childhood and through high school, and I really started to miss it after high school ended,” Arango said. “I like that we go out and get to play more competitively with other schools rather than just play pickup games every night.”
However, you do not need to have experience with a sport to join a club.
“I went to the fair with my friend and I signed up,” said Liebenthal. “We got to know the girls and the game, and I really fell in love with it.”
“I found out through some of the other internationals on campus,” said Lage Kamfjord, member of the cricket club. “I like the environment of the club, it’s very relaxed.”
Those interested in joining a club sport can e-mail the Coyote Officials Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Wellness Center at (605) 677-8806.