Campus News

Soccer returns after 15-year hiatus

Effective this fall semester, Purdue Calumet students have two soccer teams to cheer on. After a 15-year departure, men’s soccer made its comeback with 24 student-athletes. The new women’s team, making its first-time ever campus debut, has 18 student-athletes on its roster. Adding soccer to the Athletic Department brings the number of sports available to students to 10.

Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information Jordon Bruner commented on the return of the new addition to his department. “The soccer program was brought back to Purdue Calumet as one of the final phases of the athletic expansion plan,” he said. “It was the collaboration of former athletic director Bob Bunnell and former Chancellor Howard Cohen.”

The added intercollegiate programs were chosen based on the most popular sports in terms of number sponsored in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Great Lakes Region, as well as the NCAA as a whole, he added.

2012 Men’s Soccer Team
2012 Men’s Soccer Team
View 2012-13 Men’s Soccer Roster

Men’s soccer coach James Drzewiecki came on board in February.
Purdue Calumet is not just a small, local school any more, according to the new coach and Purdue Calumet alumnus, and expanding the sports program on campus has made a positive impact in many areas. “It’s forcing our local community to re-shape the way it looks at Purdue Calumet,” he added. “It helps them to view our campus as not just a commuter college, but as a major university that continues to move forward in many areas.”

Attracting and recruiting athletes that also have impressive academic credentials is one of the ways Purdue Calumet continues forward.

With more than 40 countries represented by Purdue Calumet students, it stands to reason that the campus sports teams would reflect this statistic, and it does. Of Drzewiecki’s team members, five are from countries outside of the United States. Two players hail from Mexico, two from Saudi Arabia and one from Brazil. “We have a definite amount of diversity on our team,” he said.

2012 Women’s Soccer Team
2012 Women’s Soccer Team
View 2012-13 Women’s Soccer Roster

Leslie Ferguson is serving as this year’s women’s soccer coach.
She believes that athletics brings students to the university, and offering a variety of sports will keep their campus and student life well-rounded. “Student athletes learn a lot from their sport that they can use on and off the field,” she said. “They learn discipline, sportsmanship, teamwork and perseverance within their sport, in which they also take into the classroom, home life and work.”

Not downplaying the scholastic areas of Purdue Calumet, but adding to them, Drzewiecki believes that having a team that is balanced academically and athletically is one of the greatest forms of marketing. “Athletics in general is huge for a campus; it gives more of an identity.”

Ferguson is very optimistic about Purdue Calumet’s first-ever women’s soccer team. “My short term goal for the team is to be competitive in every game we play,” she said. “Long term is to make this program a powerhouse within our conference and the NAIA.”

Drzewiecki’s long term goal for his team is two-fold.
“It’s not just to mold our players into a good team —  a national team – but we want to be a proficient outfit both on and off the field.”

Figures compiled last Spring show that Purdue Calumet athletes attained a 3.08 cumulative grade point average, the highest in the university’s history. This number surpassed that of the campus’ overall student body, which came in at 2.62.