Football at the University of Southampton

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The university intramural league undoubtedly offers the most competitive football in England, let alone at university. The three leagues comprise of teams loosely based on accommodation, subjects, and societies, with matches played on Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning at Eastleigh’s equivalent of Wembley, the Wide Lane Sports Ground.

Those that play in the former are often your keen footballers who want to make use of their spare time midweek to showcase the talent that they once had, and as a way of keeping fit. Those that play on a Sunday equally want to stay fit, and are most likely your classic Sunday league footballers: they rock up to kick-off with a nasty hangover and boots perhaps a size too small, and what they lack in pace and skill they make up for with their endeavour, crunching challenges, and sense of fun. It remains to be seen whether Connaught FC can continue to dominate division one of both the Wednesday and Sunday leagues, or whether other teams can challenge them to the title.

As competitive as intramural football can be, the social aspect of it is often as important, if not more valued by teams. Each team tends to have a social event on a regular basis, varying from one a month, to as frequent as a social every week. Socials vary from the staple welcome freshers social and end of year awards, to pub golf and nativity-themed socials… and some have even been known to discuss tactics! These socials allow players to bond, meet people in their halls who they may not have encountered before, allowing players to immerse themselves into the university experience, and meet new friends. Additionally, these socials enable the older group of players to revisit their halls of residence and revisit their memorable memories of freshers.

The university has three football teams which are far more serious, with a significantly higher level of quality of football on display. Without being too partial, Southampton University FC are the dominant university football team on the South Coast, after winning two consecutive varsities – on home soil and rival territory – as well as being victorious in the BUCS Western 2A. Their socials appear to match the quality of football on display: it is extremely difficult to miss the football team on a night out, especially on a Wednesday night, where they can be easily distinguished in their shirt and tie in one of Oceana’s booths.

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