Club sports are right in the middle between intramural and varsity, NCAA-related college sports. They are probably more closely related to varsity sports in the sense that you need to tryout to make the team, but are unaffiliated with the NCAA. The players and coaches are all chosen by the players of the team, so it’s a real group effort. This type of athletic venture is best suited for the athlete who desperately wanted to be recruited, that wasn’t, or the athlete who tried out and didn’t make the varsity team.
Why should you try club sports?
Have a desire to win? Join the club (no pun intended)! Intramurals are all fun and games but club sports are the real deal.
Hangin' with the best.
Trying out for a club sport is required, but if you make the team, you know that you're working with a solid group of athletes that are all on the same page. By trying out, you are committing yourself to the team and so are the others around you. Your talents will not go to waste here.
The varsity experience.
So maybe you didn't make the varsity team or weren't recruited. Club sports are the next-best alternative. You get the intercollegiate experience with games against other colleges' clubs and the intense practice schedules.
The slight downside
Money. Because clubs are totally run by the teams themselves, they are required to fund everything needed (ie. traveling, clothing, practice materials, etc.). Your school in some cases can help in this area, but be ready to spend a little more than you thought.
Club sports are a little more involved than intramurals. Here are some tips on what you can do to learn more about this avenue of collegiate athletics:
Try googling “collegiate club sports” to get a feel of what the “club” life is like.
Click around other colleges’ sites (or check out your own school if you’ve been admitted already) to learn more about what it means to be on a club team and to get a feeling for the tryouts/schedules, etc.
If you live near a college or university with club teams, take a look at their schedule and go to one of their home games. See if you can meet up with some of the players afterwards to get some insider info on any specifics you’ve been wondering about.
If you’re a year or so away from making your decision, see if you can arrange to go watch a tryout. See what you might be getting yourself into and get an edge on any future competition!
Definitely note that there are different kinds of “club” sports out there. If you look around the web, there are tons of clubs where you don’t need to have any experience to join. The University of Southern California’s men’s soccer club site is a perfect example of the type of team this week’s blog is about.
See? I told you not to worry. Athletics are just a part of the college experience like any other extracurricular activity. And you get to choose how to mold your next four years. Whether it's ultimate Frisbee every few nights or playing club soccer and traveling to your next game, you will be more than covered on the sports front.