UNCG is known for not having an official Division I football team. However, do not let this fool you into thinking that UNCG has no team. We have a club football team, which was established in the spring of 2015. It’s quite official, with coaches who played in college, talented current players and athletic gear. The men who play on the team, their coaches, former players, UNCG alumni and interested third parties have been fighting for UNCG to get our club football team eventually established as a legitimate Division I club.
There are quite a few new faces who are looking forward to trying out for the team this season. One of them is named Justin Gatlin, who is a freshman at UNCG. When asked why he wanted to join and/or tryout for club football, he stated that, “I love football; I played it all of high school. It’s where I found my family. It’s where I got all my brothers, and I just want to relive that experience in college.”
Justin played multiple positions in high school, stating that he “played quarterback my junior varsity years and wide receiver my varsity years.” As for his personal goals for this season, he stated that he “wants to win. I set my own personal goals. I’m a team-oriented player, and I want my team to win.”
Another freshman who is looking to try out for the team is Trey Foust. Trey also played football in high school and wants to “continue what I finished off in high school.” He also wants to be “better at football.” Trey played defensive line, and he also returned kickoffs in high school. Personal goals for Trey include wanting to “get a ring!” He wants the “entire team to have rings on their fingers.”
The third freshman that I spoke with is Trey Matthews, who is “excited to continue what I was doing in high school. I want to play football as much as I can.” Trey also expressed excitement about the general experience. In high school, Matthews played slot wide receiver on his team. Trey has high expectations for himself, as he aspires to “get three touchdowns.” He is also “looking to start.”
The last freshman recruit that I chatted with was Davis Amoco. Davis “started playing football my sophomore year of high school.” He spoke about improving when he mentioned that he was able to “make the jump I did from the way I played as a sophomore to the way I played as a senior was awesome.” He wants to “continue to play like I did. I want to make an impact on this football team. I hope they give me opportunities.” Davis is a diverse defensive player as he “played safety my sophomore and junior years and defensive end my senior year.” Amoco is a team player, considering that his goals for this season consist of wanting “to make an impact.” Davis also wants “to play, win games and do my part.”
The club football 2017-18 schedule will be a fun one, with two matchups against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, with one of the games against them being at home and the other game being away. All of the men that I talked to were all excited about the schedule. Gatlin expressed how he wants to “make big-time schools look bad.” Foust and Amoco love the schedule, and Matthews is “ready to start the season now!”
While our football team is currently in the club stage, they still have fees one must pay if they want to join the team. The fees for our team total up to $100 per person, which may seem like a large fee. But when asked about his thoughts regarding fees, Gatlin said “I think they’re fair because football is a great experience. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in life to do what you really value. You just have to find a way to make it happen.” Foust likes how he will be saving money because “it costs easily $300 or $400 usually, and we only have to pay $100 so that’s pretty nice.” Matthews thinks that by paying the fees, “we get the best gear.” And by getting the best gear “we get the best players.” Amoco understands that the fees are the way that they will “give us the opportunity to get our program to Division I.”
The first practice for the team was Monday. The other two practice days that the men practice on are Wednesday’s and Thursday’s at 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The team will practice on the north field, which is directly behind the Weil-Winfield and Moore-Strong dorms. Their first game of their second season will be Sept. 16 against George-Mason University at 1:00 p.m. on the recreational field, which is next to the baseball stadium.