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Community, personal skills, and muscles built through club sports

Cornell Club soccer team

Cornell is home to nearly 100 club sports, among them archery, hockey, badminton, rugby, ultimate frisbee, and soccer. Students choose to participate for a wide variety of reasons.

For some, it is a continuation of a long-loved passion. “Being able to continue a sport I truly enjoy is really rewarding and a good stress reliever,” says Lex Crist ’23 of the Cornell Women’s Club Hockey.

For others, it’s a chance to try something new. “It’s community, and something we all share together,” says Gavin Chuhak ’25, who joined the Men’s Rugby Football Club having never played before and wanting to explore something new, fun, and active. “We all hang out outside of practice. It’s where we met most of our friends.”

Being a club member allows students to compete at a high level against similarly skilled athletes from across the region, country, and for some, globe. Some club sports host tryouts, and while some make cuts, others do not. For example, Lex describes her organization as somewhere between instructional and competitive. “Anyone who wants to try, can, and we will put effort into helping them learn,” she said.

Regardless of how they came to play club sports, students find community and list it as an important attribute to membership.

Bella Solomon ’24, Co-Captain of Cornell Women’s Club Soccer, says, “Being on this team has given me a community I am proud to be a part of. Joining the team right when I got to Cornell helped me smoothly transition to my college life here by providing an immediate sense of community. The older players welcomed us newcomers onto the team and created a fun and competitive environment.”

Similarly, Lex counts the community she found on the team is among the greatest contributions to her time at Cornell.

Personal growth is also described by the students as another result of their membership in their respective clubs.

Gavin during club rugby

Gavin says that being treasurer has taught him leadership skills. Both on and off the field he’s bettering his ability “to work with others to accomplish a common goal.” Further, he says, participating in an unfamiliar sport, has been, at times, a struggle, and he appreciates the toughness that builds.

For Bella, her co-captain role allows her to continue to develop leadership skills. “Learning how to run a team, including scheduling ten games, arranging fields and referees, and planning weekly practices and game lineups definitely had some challenges but I know I gained vital organizational and communication skills as a result,” she says.

Lex and Gavin are also members of the Club Sports Council (CSC) leadership team, the club sports umbrella organization newly responsible for funding all of Cornell’s club sports, providing peer-to-peer support and advocacy for their needs, and creating a designated space for all club sports to come together.

“I am initializing CSC, sending out communications about deadlines and changes,” Lex says, listing some of her responsibilities. “It’s pushed me to develop organizational and business-related skills.”

“I wanted to be a part of it because I knew important changes would come, and I wanted to help make sure those changes were done and fairly distributed,” she continues. “To me, it’s a great way to be involved in helping a lot of organizations, and it is something I appreciate the opportunity to do. It’s a chance to make a real difference that will help clubs into the future.”

Students interested in getting involved with a club sport, can find more information on their respective websites, or at ClubFest. Learn more about CSC on this CampusGroups page.