By AHMED MALIK
On Friday, March 30, a group of more than 60 University of Mary Washington students piled into a charter bus to head up to RFK stadium to watch the DC United soccer team dish out a 4-1 victory over FC Dallas and earn their first win of the 2012 campaign. The students were apart of the first DC United College night hosted by UMW, an event inspired Mary Washington senior Tad Dickman.
The event sought to generate support for the Washington D.C. based soccer team and also help spur interest for future events such as this to improve the school’s support of sports teams outside of the school.
“I reached out to some of the D.C. United front office personnel about the possibility of getting involved with Mary Washington,” Dickman said. “Their organization has strong ties at American, Catholic, Maryland, Howard, George Mason, and Georgetown, so I figured it would be beneficial to both entities if we tried to begin strengthening ties for the future.”
While it was a soccer game, it didn’t take a huge soccer fan to enjoy the atmosphere that was created with the large amount of students who attended the event.
“A few of the members of the UMW group that went up were ‘first timers’ and they had a great time. Due to the large number of UMW students that made the trek, we had the luxury of being placed together in section 234, which is Barra Brava, D.C. United’s biggest cheering section. It was an incredible environment, and being surrounded by all of our peers made it even that much more enjoyable” said Dickman.
The game did not fail to provide its fair share of excitement. In the 28th minute, D.C. United forward Maicon Santos scored the first of his two goals to help provide some much needed firepower to help the Washington area soccer team pull away and dominate the game. The goal was Santos’s first this season and came at an opportune time. FC Dallas was Santos’s former team who traded him midway through last season, and then refused to pick up his option for 2012. Santos also had one assist on the night. The other two goals were scored by rookie Nick DeLeon and midfielder Danny Cruz.
Aside from promoting the D.C. United soccer team, the UMW college night allowed a diverse group of students come together and enjoy a night of camaraderie at RFK. Participants’ reactions to the event have spurred interest on possibly hosting a similar event in the near future.
“I think the D.C. United College Night event was a huge success,” sophomore Brieneke Matthes said. “It was a great opportunity for different individuals of the Mary Washington community to come together.”
Senior attendee Leigh Rice also thought it was a beneficial experience.
“It was awesome to see everyone come together to go to a local event like that. We had fun on the bus rides, at the game cheering together, and of course it is always nice to see a 4-1 victory,” Rice said, Dickman remains hopeful that continued cooperation with the school would ensure that this was the first of many events to come.
“I think Kim Tomlin, and the staff in SAE did a great job of making this project a reality,” Dickman said. “It was an incredible experience for everyone that attended and I firmly believe that everyone that participated would be willing to do it again in the future.”