Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 18:02
Soccer and softball fanatics alike may have the answer to their prayers sooner than expected.
Loyola University is looking to add three new sports teams to its Athletics Program, including men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s softball.
Enacting these two sports has been in the plans of the university since 2012 and could be integrated into the athletics program within the next few years.
With the addition of men’s and women’s tennis and golf over the last few years, Loyola already has seven sports teams, needing only five more to be a part of the NCAA.
Since the revival of the University’s Athletic Program in the mid-nineties, great efforts are being made to recapture the essence of Wolf Pack pride.
Cissy Petty, vice president of Student Affairs, said this process won’t be immediate.
“Enhancing our athletic program and facilities is a part of the University Strategic Plan. We will phase in these three sports over time,” Petty said.
Creating new sports teams is part of complete day’s work for Petty. She also said that even though the progression of the athletic program has been an ongoing process for years, the goal has always been geared toward the enhancement of putting the students first.
“Our student athletes are first excellent students. In fact, athletes have higher GPAs than the average of the student body,” Petty said.
The program’s growth is part of a co-curricular plan to enrich the student experience,” Petty said.
The decline of enrollment at Loyola University is a major concern for men’s basketball head coach and athletic director Michael Giorlando.
“Loyola has a history of high retention, and it would add to the positive experience of our university. It would help to identify the Loyola brand,” he said.
Giorlando believes that the addition of these new sports teams would be a great avenue to help in the area concerning the debt of the university.
Because of the growth of the athletics program, many students who wouldn’t normally consider enrolling at Loyola will have the opportunity to attend.
Yet the addition of these sports, specifically soccer, would mean so much more to certain members of the student body, including international business freshman Elliot Dejoie.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true. I miss practices and just being a part of a team. If Loyola were to add a men’s soccer team, I believe that it could be a huge benefit,” he said.
Dejoie is also a member of the Tulane club soccer team. Dejoie said a part of his goal involves perfecting his skills on a daily basis.
“It’s a never ending goal for me. I eventually want to go pro and I’ve played with many people who have played at the highest level. I’m just always pushed to work hard and never stop,” Dejoie said.
Dejoie, along with other soccer and softball junkies will soon be able to contribute to the growth of the athletic program with a sport that they can call their own.
Mark Robinson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org