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Some athletes eye Langara for their education, not the team

Academics is the draw for some student athletes

The Langara men's soccer team works on drills. Open trials for the new season are happening this month. Photo: Dom Gagne
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Reported by Liam Hill-Allan

As tryouts approach, the Langara men’s soccer team is looking for players, and players are looking for a school.

Some athletes seek out Langara specifically for its academic offerings, said Jake McCallum, director of athletics and intramurals.

“Sometimes, it’s purely educational,” McCallum said.

The team is holding open trials this month. These sessions offer coaches the chance to see a wide array of players, though qualified players will only be eligible after meeting Langara’s academic standards.

‘Based on academics’

For team captain Joey Ratcliffe, who currently studies marketing management, the choice to join the team was as much about academics as it was about sports.

“I originally listed all my options based on academics,” Ratcliffe said. After narrowing down his academic options, Ratcliffe decided to try out for Langara’s soccer team.

While Ratcliffe is interested in an academic career as a high school business teacher or professor, a job in athletics is still in the picture.

“I am actually a soccer referee,” Ratcliffe said. “That’s something I’m actually trying to pursue.”

In order to make the team and continue playing for the college, players must meet Langara’s academic requirements. Soccer players at Langara are required to stay registered in a minimum of nine credits in order to participate.

Ratcliffe said balancing sports and academia can be difficult, especially for new recruits used to high school.

“It’s a balance of freedom,” Ratcliffe said. “You get to create your own schedule and so it takes a little bit more responsibility.”

Finding the best players

Langara soccer head coach Marc Rizzardo said when it comes to recruitment, he is not looking for students with any specific talents.

“We just look at the best players available,” Rizzardo said.

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