With a victory already under its belt, the Renegades soccer team is optimistic this will be its best season to date.
The team pulled off a 3-0 shutout victory Oct. 14 against the Irish Keepers club team. The Renegades hope the opener will set the tone for the rest of the season, team captain Juan Rangel said.
“Last season, we had a really bad go at it,” he said. “But this year we have done a better job of organizing the team as far as practices go, and I think we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Last season the team had a record of 0–1–10, and played in one of the most competitive club soccer leagues in Chicago, which is governed by Sports Monster Futbol Club, a Chicago league organizer.However, this season the team is playing in the Chicago Sports and Social league, which is more suited to its skill level, according to Rangel.
“I decided that being in this less competitive league would really help us out this season,” Rangel said. “We have a mix of really skilled players, and some who haven’t quite played at a really competitive level and everything in between.”
The team is co-ed and league rules are simple: Games last 40 minutes; four women must be present on the field at all times; and slide-tackling is not allowed, according to Rangel.
“Sometimes it can be difficult finding girls to come play, so we have really tried getting the word out there this year,” he said. “We only have six women on the team and 16 men, so if someone starts to get tired, it can be difficult making substitutions.”
Playing 20-minute halves, as opposed to the 30-minute halves in their games last year, may mean fatigue won’t be a problem, according to forward Donato DeFrenza, freshman audio arts and acoustic major, who scored one of the three goals Oct. 14.
“I was surprised when we found out that we were only playing 40-minute games,” DeFrenza said. “Usually I’d expect a 40-minute half, so this may help if we are limited on substitutes because people won’t be as tired.”
The team practices on Thursday afternoons at one of the available fields in Grant Park, according to forward Jack Ramsey, freshman music major, a new addition to the team who also claimed a goal during the Oct. 14 game.
Ramsey said it is sometimes difficult to practice in Grant Park because a particular group of fields set on a slope are subject to flooding, while the other fields are often used for other events.
“Sometimes it can be hard to get quality practices in,” Ramsey said. “We don’t even have nets to practice shooting on, and sometimes it just isn’t that fun.”
Despite poor practicing conditions, Rangel said he believes his team has a shot at winning more games this season.
“I didn’t get to play [Oct. 14] because I was rotating people in and out of the game,” he said. “But that’s okay because we got the win, even if me sitting out and organizing the team means everyone else getting a chance to do well.”
The Renegades play every Sunday at Lincoln Park, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West, between 2–5 p.m. A schedule can be found on the Renegades soccer Facebook page.