Teamwork truimphs for Victoria-bound women's soccer
By Sabrina Carinci
Rain may have fallen on the women's soccer team's parade after they qualified for the Canadian national championships and realized not all of the 22 team players could attend the competition in Victoria.
Peter Russell, assistant coach of the team, said the university's inability to send all players to the nationals did not come as a surprise. "The university only has money to send some of the players they raised a lot this weekend," he said.
In fact, only 10 days after qualifying for the nationals and realizing the intercollegiate athletics department could not afford to send the entire soccer team, the group has raised approximately three quarters of the $5,000 needed to send the entire team to Victoria, said Paula Shurge, co-captain of the women's soccer team and first-year business student at Western.
Shurge added money was still coming in and the team expects to raise even more than its goal.
Darwin Semotiuk, chair of intercollegiate athletics at Western, explained the department is granted a funding complement by the CIAU for 17 individuals. "The coach decides on how the complement is used," he said. Semotiuk added it is the coach's ultimate decision as to how many of the 17 will be players and how many will be coaches or trainers.
Semotiuk said the department was able to add two more individuals to the compliment, raising the number attending the nationals to 19. "It's about $1,000 per individual, with air transportation, ground transportation, accommodations and meals," he said, adding this extra money will come out of intercollegiate athletics' budget.
The effort by athletics still will not cover the cost to send the entire team. Semotiuk said funding has always been a problem and most likely always will be.
Carmyn Aleshka, co-captain of the team and first-year business student at Western, said the team was made aware of the funding situation only after they had qualified for the nationals in Ottawa at the Ontario University Athletics championship.
"When we won, there was no hesitation that we were all going to go," she said. She added the team understood the university could not afford to send all of the players. "Athletics can only handle so much which is understandable."
According to both Shurge and Aleshka, when they arrived back from Ottawa, the team assembled to brainstorm fund-raising ideas. "We had a meeting and put forth numerous fund-raising ideas we got a lot of donations from local businesses, alumni and the [University Students' Council]," Aleshka said. "The response from the community has been amazing. We're all very appreciative."
Dave Small, VP-finance for the USC, said decisions to grant money to charities and clubs are usually approved by the finance committee. However due to the timing of the matter, the request was approved by the Board of Directors yesterday afternoon and the team was awarded $500.
"We take into account how many students will benefit and how it will look for Western and the USC," he said.