Intramural soccer kicks off new season


Nathan Kwapisz/NW

GAMETIME — James Hagerman with his GoPro beside him recording while playing goalie for intramural soccer.

Nathan Kwapisz

James Hagerman, a criminal justice major, was recruited by his dorm hall to play intramural soccer. He was excited to relive his elementary recess days by playing a friendly match of soccer with friends, and it sounded like a fun way to get some exercise.

“Some people in my hall were like, ‘do you want to join our soccer league?’” Hagerman said. “I was like, ‘yeah, I need to get out and about [and] do something. Sure, I’ll join the soccer team.’”

Intramural soccer is now underway at NMU with Tuesday, Feb. 14 being the second week in-season. Intramural soccer is a special opportunity to make friends and find an athletic break in a student’s busy schedule all while staying connected with family.

Isabelle Honkomp, an environmental studies and sustainability major, had a similar experience to Hagerman of reliving her childhood through intramural soccer. Honkomp also had a group of friends that were interested in joining the soccer league, so they decided to put a team together.

“It’s not crazy competitive, but it’s still competitive,” Honkomp said. “You can still go out and make friends and you can just be who you want to be without the NCAA counting on you.”

The friendly atmosphere with a slight competitive goal is what Hagerman and Honkomp enjoy most about intramural soccer.

“It’s helpful to just set yourself aside from class where you’re back into that good old … fun, almost like backyard style stuff,” Hagerman said “That’s really all we are with just a little more rules.”

Austin Cilwa, an athletic coaching education major and referee for intramural soccer, agrees with Hagerman that it is similar to a fun backyard or elementary school game.

Cilwa has decided to referee games for intramural leagues because it is a fun learning opportunity related to his major to understand every aspect of the sport being played.

Joining an intramural sports team has also been beneficial for Honkomp’s social, physical and mental health.

“Playing benefits my mental health a lot because it has both the socialization aspect and also the athletic aspect,” Honkomp said. “You still can get that workout for fun and can still get that runner’s high after it.”

Hagerman has also found ways to share his love for the game with others, including buying a GoPro camera to wear during warmup sessions. He has shared those videos with his parents who are curious about the game and Hagerman’s experiences.

“My parents back home that are seven hours away can see what I’m doing up here because they wanted to know [about it],” Hagerman said.

You can join a soccer team or create your own on the Northern Michigan University Rec Sports website.