By: Cameron Addertion ’20, communications
Imagine moving from the comfort of your family and friends to a foreign country where you do not know anyone. That is exactly what the members of the “4kTins,” an intramural sports soccer team did. From five different countries: Australia, England, Ireland, South Africa and Sweden, the seven members traveled to America to study at NC State during the Fall 2019 semester.
Intramural sports, offered through Wellness and Recreation, provide an opportunity for students to find community while being physically active. Australian native, Stephen Grotter ‘20, an accounting major, was made aware of intramural sports at orientation and knew he wanted to be part of a team. Every member of the “4KTins” played soccer previously in their home countries and found comfort in the familiarity of playing again in America.
Alexander Residence Hall is traditionally home to many international students on exchange each year. During the fall semester, students would gather to watch soccer games in one of the communal spaces, forging a bond from the love of the sport. One day, the idea of forming an intramural soccer team was suggested after watching soccer together on television. “We have got to know each other better and we always have an enjoyable time playing each week,” said Grotter. “The league has given us something exciting to do on a Tuesday night. Everyone loves to play and enjoy the social aspect of winning and celebrating a win together.”
The teammates grew in friendship and sportsmanship together. Playing under the lights each Tuesday gave the team a reason to see each other every week and brought a bonding experience for all.
“Tuesday nights quickly became my favorite night of the week, I had heaps of fun with a great bunch of lads,” said Ed Verco ‘20, a law major.
The students of Alexander Residence Hall began attending the games to cheer the team on. It began to be a communal experience for not just the players on the team, but the entire residence hall. Creating a fan base of about 15 people, the team was never without a crowd. After the games, to celebrate the victory of the men, the team and fans began to initiate a “Taco Tuesday” post-game meal.
“The support we received from both the domestic and other international students was amazing. Through soccer, we were able to become tighter as a group. 4KTins soccer games then tacos became a Tuesday night tradition,” Luke Camilleri ‘19, a law and economics major.
The team of diverse backgrounds went undefeated in the men’s 7-on-7 league regular season. Coming from various countries allowed the men a different perspective on the game than American students. “As a group of international students, we believe that we have developed a unique cohesive bond due to the different styles of soccer we play in our respective countries,” said Grotter. As the team consisted of international students, they bonded over the fact they were playing a different form of the game than American students.
The desire of the team to have fun and enjoy themselves has lead them to be successful in their journey. Through soccer, the men have created an inseparable bond that will surpass their duration in America. As a group, they have gone on trips to Miami, New Orleans and Charleston together. They will surely make trips to see one another after their semester is over.