An outlet in soccer

Two teammates warm up before a game Photo credit: Kayla Nicholls

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. In most parts of North and South America, it doesn’t take long to find a game to join in on, and that includes here in Rexburg, Idaho. Any weeknight during spring semester, you can find pickup or intramural soccer games going on at the upper fields.

The fields are full of players from all over the world, including Zimbabwe, Peru, South Africa and many other countries. The diversity at these games shows that everyone, no matter where they are from, needs connection and an outlet. For many students at BYU-Idaho, soccer is their outlet.

Daniel Hernandez and Hector Angarita both came to Idaho from Colombia for school. They didn’t know each other before they moved here, but now they’re friends with a favorite sport in common, and both spend a couple of nights a week playing soccer.

Hernandez, a sophomore studying computer science, moved to Rexburg in April of this year. Although he was proficient in English and had already gotten some school done through BYU-Pathway Worldwide, he still found the transition difficult, and soccer helped him through it.

“Sports are a really good way to feel distracted,” Hernandez said. “Soccer especially is really good.”

Although making friends hasn’t been difficult and school has been enjoyable, life is still much different here than it is for Hernandez in Columbia. He appreciates the opportunity he has to play soccer and forget about the hard things.

Like Hernandez, Angarita, a sophomore studying business management operations, moved to Idaho for school and is passionate about soccer. This is not the first time he’s moved across the country, however. At age 20, he moved from Columbia to France to learn French. During his year and a half in France, he played “the most important sport in all the world,” soccer.

Living in two new countries is a big transition, but through it all, soccer has been a constant in Angarita’s life. On his intramural team, he has friends from all over the country and the world, and they can all relate to using their favorite sport as an outlet.

Dealing with hard times is something all students at BYU-I are familiar with. There will always be stress, loneliness and whatever other troubles an individual can go through. Working hard to overcome challenges is important, but so is stepping away for a little time to focus on something that brings joy.

That is what soccer is for many students. No matter where they come from, they all can find an outlet in the sport.

Students can join a team for soccer or whatever sport they enjoy on the BYU-I intramurals page.