Cambridge University Association Football Club

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Meet The CUAFC Freshers

27th February 2017

Could you all briefly introduce yourselves?

I’m Rufus Saunders, a first year Land Economist at Fitzwilliam College. I am a striker currently in the Blues squad.
My name’s Joe Ellis, also studying Land Economy at Fitzwilliam College. I play Central Midfield and I am from Preston. [Describes himself as an] ‘All round great guy with a barnet to match.’
And I’m Ollie Lerway, a fresher historian at Clare College, and I play on the wing.

What have been your first impressions of university football this year?

RS: CUAFC has completely exceeded my expectations that I had before I arrived at Cambridge. I have joined new clubs in the past where the atmosphere is somewhat hostile towards new players and it can be difficult to build relationships necessary to play well on the pitch. CUAFC couldn’t have been further from this. I’ve been welcomed into the club straight away by a great bunch of lads and have thoroughly enjoyed my first term and a half of uni football.
JE: Uni football is pretty darn fun. Both teams are in really competitive leagues, so you wake up on Wednesday knowing you’re in for good game. The squad is well set up, so training and match days are really focused and then the socials are a good laugh.
OL: Football here has been a great experience. I have made loads of friends and was also very surprised at how welcoming established members of the team were to the freshers.

Above: Ollie Lerway whips in a cross.

How have you found balancing work and sport?

RS: Finding a system that works for you in terms of how you get your work done to ensure you can train and play matches is very important, as I’ve found out. Whilst I’ve missed the large majority of my Wednesday lectures due to BUCS fixtures (cheers for the BUCS Wednesday day off Cambridge), I have learnt to organise my time more effectively to ensure that I can concentrate fully on football when I’m playing and switch to my studies when I’m not. Playing football, which is something I obviously love, is a great way to break up monotonous weeks and reduce work-related stress.
JE: Balancing work and sport isn’t too bad. Football gives me both exercise and social time, which is a nice break from work.
OL: Football is a big commitment as there is a lot of training and Wednesdays and Thursday mornings are a bit of a write off, but it is definitely manageable.

How does it compare with friends’ experiences of sport at other universities do you think?

RS: I think Cambridge sport compares very favourably with other unis. The abundance of excellent pitches and the facilities that we have are invaluable and the meritocracy with which the teams are selected is more noticeable here than at other unis. However, as I’ve already mentioned, the absence of a day off on a Wednesday to ensure that sports men and women don’t miss out on contact hours is slightly frustrating.
JE: I think in Cambridge people take a lot more pride in representing the University at sport, as it feels prestigious. Playing in such a historic fixture against Oxf*rd at the end of season also gives it an added edge over other Unis.
OL: I think football at Cambridge is more professional than at other Universities – especially thanks to the link with Cambridge United. Also I’m not sure if many others do a tour to Lisbon like we did!

Is there anything you’d like to change about football at Cambridge?

RS: Ensure that Jack Congdon NEVER buys the footballs again. I don’t want to kick another Mitre Malmo as long as I live. Also, I’d really prefer if we didn’t have our most important training session on a Monday, mere hours after stumbling out of Sunday Life.
JE: I think the standard of college football is really high especially in the first division. So it would be great to see CUAFC fielding three teams on a Wednesday in BUCS, instead of two.
OL: Travel to away games in coaches not the minibus!

Above: Joe Ellis (centre) celebrates winning Midlands 4D with the Falcons.

What’s your favourite bit of stash?

RS: My favourite bit of stash has to be the light blue Nike training t-shirt but a special mention goes to the figure-hugging tech pants which are frequently sported by the infamous Arman Hakimazari when he’s working his moves on the girls in the smoking area of Cindies.
JE: It has to be the light blue training top, very fresh.
OL: Blue Rain Jacket…

Cindies or Life?

RS: A six-point Wednesday in Cindies. Life is by far the better club though.
JE: Gotta be some Cindies action after two BUCS wins for CUAFC. Blues Captain Henners throwing shapes similar to Peter Crouch. Falcons Captain Creasey elated after leading the Falcons to yet another win.

OL: Life...

Above: Ollie (far left) and Rufus Saunders (far right) sport their brand new stash.

And feelings about the season so far/ upcoming varsity matches?

RS: I think the Blues have enjoyed a solid season this year, and despite not quite achieving promotion there is still chance for us to finish second which would be an excellent achievement. In particular, the 2-3 away win over Warwick, after twice coming from behind, was a highlight of my season and a great game to get my first goal for CUAFC. I think we’re in a good position coming into the Varsity game coming off the back of a well-fought 0-0 draw with Oxford a couple of weeks ago and we should feel like we have every chance of winning it come the 19th of March.
JE: It has been a good season for CUAFC. Spirits are very high going into Varsity, in which only wins for all teams will crown the season a success. #GDBO

OL: Both teams have had good seasons and it has been great to be a part of the Falcons’ unbeaten campaign, with the highlight a 2-0 win against Oxford. I can only see a hat-trick of wins in the upcoming Varsity matches.

Catch our freshers in Varsity action: Falcons/Eagles/Kestrels - Saturday 4th March, Iffley Road, Oxford. First game at 2pm.

Men's and Women's Blues - Sunday 19th March, The Hive Barnet. Women 1pm KO; Men 4pm KO.