Last semester, Valpo announced the discontinuation of two sports; the men’s soccer men’s tennis teams.
Going into this spring semester, many of the players from the teams have left the university, transfered or otherwise, but a handful of them have decided to stay.
Demar Rose, former Captain and midfielder of the men’s soccer team, is one of those that decided to stay.
Rose, a senior who is graduating in May, is from Kingston, Jamaica.
He expressed that being a senior is one of the main reasons he stayed at Valpo. Rose said that if he were younger and had more time left, he would have transferred out.
As far as the other remaining players, Rose reflects on why they are still here as well.
“Most of them are [seniors] and some of them are looking for school to go to,” Rose said.
Joe Kouadio, a sophmore from London, England, is also among those who stayed, but is currently searching for another school.
“It was such short notice, like if I had the full opportunity to move, I would have moved,” Kouadio said. “With the scholarship that I wanted, most money’s gone.”
Even though these past few months have been hard for these players, they don’t let it affect their interactions with one another.
They still have a groupchat of those still on campus. The men meet up frequently in the ARC and play soccer together, go to basketball games together, and hangout at each other’s places.
“Those that are still here, we are pretty close,” Rose said.
The members of the team are also still in contact with those who are no longer at the university.
“We still have our group snapchat that we talk in everyday. The relationship is still strong between us and that is something that I think will stay with us for a lifetime,” Rose said.
To Kouadio, he considers all the men’s soccer team lifelong friends.
“I’m not going to see some of these boys that I’ve already considered good life friends and I'm probably not going to see them for maybe a couple years, maybe if they get married or something like that, I might see them,” he said.
In terms of community, Rose said that the dynamic has shifted a little bit, but not much.
“It’s weird because when some people see us on campus they're like ‘What is a soccer player doing on campus?’ For me it is because I’m graduating in May. You have people making remarks like ‘You don’t belong here or something like that,’’' Rose said. “A couple of days ago when we were on the Brown field playing soccer, and one of our team mates heard an [athlete of a different sport] saying, ‘why are [they] here, you guys don't belong here.’”
Rose added that while this incident still stung, he clearly understands that not all of the Valpo athletes think like this.
Rose, who still wears his soccer gear around campus and around the community, reflects on conversations he has had with people since the discontinuation.
“At the basketball games, elderly people come to the basketball games and they're like showing their emotions, they're sad that it happened and even when I go to the store to get food, people in the community do too,” Rose said.
Typically in the spring, the men’s soccer team would have a spring season.
“It’s hard, just to be going to classes, not doing anything. You can only like, go to the gym and get a workout, not playing soccer regularly,” Rose said. “We came for the education but we also came to play soccer.”
This is especially hard for Rose, as he wants to continue playing soccer after college.
“It’s gonna be harder because obviously we’re not practicing. You're kinda out of shape so if you get a call to come to a try out right now it's going to be way harder,” Rose said. “I've been talking to a couple coaches, I'm going to be playing over the summer and then hopefully something happens.”
Additionally, Rose wants people to know that the cause of the cutting is still unknown, while he and some community members have thoughts, there is no way to confirm them at this time.