Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Students revive Loyola fútbol club after 10+ years

Sophia Renzi
Alejandro Garcia kicks soccer ball in a game. Loyola Fútbol Club, or Loyola FC, was organized by Hector Garcia and his twin brother Alejandro Garcia.

For the first time in more than 10 years, competitive soccer has returned to Loyola. Loyola Fútbol Club, or Loyola FC, was organized by junior public health major Hector Garcia and his twin brother, criminal justice major Alejandro Garcia.

“The club already existed on campus, but it wasn’t super active, so my brother and I met with the former president of the club and told him that we really wanted to take over and make it into something more concrete and involved,” said Hector Garcia, who is the club president, and the team’s starting goalkeeper and captain. “We really love futbol, and it holds a special place in our hearts, so to have the chance to build up this club essentially from the ground up, was something that deeply attracted us.”

The brothers, along with the help and support from faculty advisor and mentor Dr. Phil Bucolo, have taken their passion for the sport and grown this club team from humble origins to where it is now, playing in 11 versus 11 games in an organized league on Sundays.

“It all started with me and Alejandro just kind of kicking the ball around freshman year in the Res Quad,” said Garcia. “People just started checking us out and then we started playing some pickup games. From there, us and a few friends joined the intramural teams as free agents and that’s when the idea to turn this into a club team really started.”

The brothers sought out the help of Bucolo, a professor in the biological and environmental science department, to help sponsor their efforts to revitalize the team.

“Hector had been in one of my classes and on one of the class field trips, he told me that he had noticed that Loyola didn’t have any kind of organized men’s soccer team,” Bucolo said. “I knew that when I graduated from here in 2003, we had a small club soccer team I was part of that functioned like a student organization, so Hector and I just started talking about it and he expressed that he and his brother Alejandro were interested in reviving the program and asked me to be the faculty sponsor for it.”

With a sponsor secured and the early makings of a team, the Garcias set about making their dream of a club team a reality.

“Dr. Bucolo went and found us a coach who had played at the Division 1 level in college, which is the highest level of college soccer and we originally started playing in the Green League run by Crescent City Soccer,” said Garcia. “It’s a 6-on-6 league, and it was a good place to start, but Alejandro and I were always thinking bigger with what we wanted to achieve.”

This fall, Loyola FC joined a new league, run by the Southeast Louisiana Adult Soccer Association, which is an 11-on-11 competition that plays their games on Sundays at Lafreniere Park and runs from September to December.

“We’ll play about 11-12 games in total this semester,” said Bucolo. “The league has 3 divisions, and when we got accepted, because we’re a new team, we joined at the bottom division, Division III, but there is a promotion and relegation system in this league like they have in Europe, so if we play well enough this season, we could be promoted at the end of the season.”

With a name, a plan, and a league to play in, the last thing that was needed to start playing was simple but crucial: players.

“The season started on September 10th, so we kind of were scrambling to put our first 11-man team together,” said Hector Garcia. “We hosted 2 days of tryouts across the street from campus at Audubon Park the week before our first game on the fifth and the sixth and chose like 18 guys from tryouts to make up our roster the Friday before our game that Sunday.”

Because of the rather short notice construction of the roster, the team wasn’t able to come away with a win in their first game.

“We all kind of came into our first game without ever really having played with most of our teammates because it all came together so fast,” Alejandro said. “We didn’t really have any chemistry and we lost 2-1. But it was a big milestone and motivator for Hector and I, because this all started with us just kicking the ball around in the Res Quad. We planted this seed. It was history too, because Loyola hadn’t been able to field a competitive team in over 10 years, and fortunately for me, I was able to score our team’s first goal!”

But the team was able to regroup, find their form, and win its next 2 games in the league.

“We were able to get a little more established with our routines, have our first practice at the Fly, get a little more comfortable as a team, and we started winning games,” Hector Garcia said. “That’s when we realized that we could compete and really be good if we played at the level I know we’re capable of reaching. We’ve struggled a little bit in our next games, but we’re always learning and getting better each time we go out there.”

And as with all new endeavors, Loyola FC has faced its share of adversity.

“We’ve had some challenges finding available places to practice in the city on a consistent basis,” said Bucolo. “So the guys will occasionally just practice in the Res Quad when they can’t find a field, so we definitely want to have a permanent field space at some point in the near future. And we’re still figuring some things out in terms of finding our rhythm and maximizing our players abilities.”

The brothers also are excited to potentially add a women’s club team into the operation in the future.

“We believe that fútbol is a sport for everyone to enjoy and that everyone should have the chance to play it,” said Garcia. “Unfortunately, the league we currently play in is a men’s only league, but we have started searching for women-only leagues with the goal of eventually finding a place for a women’s team to get going and hopefully have both teams playing simultaneously.”

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About the Contributors
Matthew Richards
Matthew Richards, Sports Editor
Matthew is a sophomore mass communications major with a concentration in journalism. He is a New Orleans native who loves talking about the Saints and Pelicans and thinks the Cars franchise is seriously underrated.
Sophia Renzi
Sophia Renzi, Assistant Photo Editor
Sophia Renzi currently serves as The Maroon's Assistant Photo Editor and Head Photographer for The Wolf.

Comments (3)

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  • S

    Sandra.Nov 3, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    They are an inspiration to other. Great job guys.

  • L

    Lorna DuronceletNov 3, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    wow Congratulations to Loyola University for this new adventure and as I always say, I am proud of you, you are exceptional young people. You are children of GOD. Good job Hector and Alejandro. Go Loyola Go ..!!

  • C

    Cintya MolinaNov 3, 2023 at 11:08 am

    Great job guys
    Love Loyola university