By Adam Brocklesby, BA History
Among the many societies that exist at SOAS, some of the most sought-after are the wide array of sports communities. Being the most popular sport in the UK, football is exceedingly popular at SOAS, both competitively and recreationally.
I spoke to the captain of the SOAS Women’s Football team, Lil Benson, regarding their latest successes and the recent boom in Women’s football. Benson emphasised just how accessible football is at SOAS, stating simply: ‘Go to the sessions and then just try your best. It’s less about being brilliant and more about having an attitude where you would like to learn about the sport, about other people. Just go and be yourself and don’t worry too much about it.’
This kind of attitude, as well as the nationwide successes in Women’s football over the past few years, led to one of the biggest trial turnouts in the history of the team. Benson agreed and ventured into her personal experience with the sport, revealing that while she hadn’t played much football in her younger years, after, ‘the success of the Euros and the World Cup… I think it’s an inspiration for me to have started again and to have seen it.’
Benson also emphasised the accessibility of the team to anyone with an interest in football: ‘We’re really trying to push just as much opportunity to get involved as you can, regardless of when you join the team. If you joined it immediately after the freshers fayre or if you join in January, just opportunities for everyone to just get involved.’
The social aspect of the team is clearly paramount as, when asked how students can get involved, Benson answered: ‘The group chat on Instagram. Join us. Don’t have to play. We go and watch matches and stuff like that and just get involved in football and things outside of simply playing matches.’
It’s never too late to get involved, and you can find the SOAS Women’s Football Club on Instagram at @soaswfc with a link for the group chat in their bio.
In addition to football, I also asked a representative of the SOAS Badminton team about their society and the intricacies of the sport itself. Played on a court, badminton is a racquet sport where teams of either one or two aim to hit the shuttlecock into the other team’s half of the court. While the feathers of the shuttlecock do increase the drag of the projectile, thus causing the shuttlecock to take longer to fall than a more aerodynamic ball, badminton is not a slow-moving sport. The team asserts that ‘if you’re into a fast-paced, exhilarating sport, badminton is for you.’
The year ahead looks exciting for the Badminton team and those following it. They aim to hold more social dinners on top of the weekly sessions and the matches that the team plays. They also appear favourite to become a winning team this year and are currently in great form, starting their season off perfectly last Sunday. Playing against London South Bank University, the SOAS team thrashed them in a 9-0 victory with second-year student Ben Hornby contributing ‘insane jump smashes.’
“The perfect way to get to know like-minded individuals and to also make new friends.”
SOAS Badminton is accessible for all students with weekly social sessions plus extra sessions every Sunday for keen players. The spokesperson I talked with said that Badminton is ‘the perfect way to get to know like-minded individuals and to also make new friends.’ To check out the sessions and for information regarding memberships, socials and team news, head to the @soasbadminton Instagram page.
Photo caption: SOAS Women’s Football Team [Credit: @soaswfc]