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Friday, Mar 24, 2023

Following years of work, Middlebury Club Soccer finally takes to the field

The men’s and women’s varsity soccer teams are no longer the only Panthers on the soccer pitch. As of this fall, Middlebury now has a fully operational men’s club team.

Founded by Blaise Siefer ’23.5 and Marco Fengler ’23, the club took to the field for the first time this fall, after spending months in the works.

According to Fengler, the process of getting the team off the ground began two years ago, when he and Siefer first arrived on campus and the college had recently cut its junior varsity men’s soccer team. But even though the program was gone, interest in soccer remained high.

“We had a lot of guys interested in soccer, but we lacked organization and infrastructure,” Fengler said.

Seeking to create a more structured program, Fengler and Siefer reached out to the Middlebury Director of Club Sports, Doug Connolly. Although he supported the vision for the club, he explained that there were still many obstacles, some of which included medical supervision, budgetary restrictions and field time.

Just as things looked like they were finally starting to get going, the Covid-19 pandemic brought club soccer to a screeching halt.

“It was tough,” Fengler said. “We got sent home in the spring, and in the fall we realized the school had a lot going on, so it wasn’t the right time.”

Not to be deterred, the pair continued to operate behind the scenes throughout the spring semester of 2021. After long talks with the Student Activities Office, they finally got the green light in May.

“We still had a lot to do, but we knew we finally had a team,” Fengler said.

Co-presidents Blaise Siefer ’23.5 (left) and Marco Fengler ’23 (right) pose after the team’s 2-1 victory over UVM on Sunday, Sept. 19. Courtesy of Alex Stimpson ’23.5

Middlebury men’s club soccer took its fully fledged form this fall, donning navy and white jerseys on the pitch. Led by Fengler and Siefer as co-presidents, the club now has a full executive board, consisting of three class captains (Otis Miliken ’24, Ben Knudsen ’23, Hugo Bocker ’22), the two aforementioned presidents and social chair Captain Rudolph ’23.5. The team consists of a 27-man travel roster that practices regularly and plays away games in addition to a practice squad that trains several times per week as well.

“There is fluidity between the two [the travel roster and the practice squad], however,” Fengler said. “If guys are working hard in practice, then they can potentially make the travel team.”

The team has been in fine form on the field with an unbeaten start to the season. Following a statement victory over UVM’s club side in their season opener, the team played to a hard-fought draw against Clarkson before earning back to back victories against University of Massachusetts Lowell and Brandeis. 

The team is currently listed as a provisional outfit for this season, so they will not be allowed to compete at regionals, but they have big goals for the year nonetheless.

“We want to have an unbeaten season,” Fengler said. “We play a fast-paced yet composed game, so fans can expect a lot of goals too.”

You can stay up to date with the club’s schedule on the team’s Instagram page as well as on the club’s page on Presence. Middlebury club soccer takes on UVM B and Dartmouth B at 9:30 AM and 4:45 PM this Sunday at Middlebury.


Editor’s Note: Blaise Siefer is the Senior Sports Editor for The Campus.


Charles Crounse

Charles Crounse '24 (he/him) is the senior sports editor for the Campus. He has previously worked as a writer and staff editor for the section. Charles is pursuing a major in environmental policy and a minor in French, and in his free time he enjoys biking, hiking, and exploring Vermont. He is also a member of the club soccer team on campus.