KSU professors win bronze in England

Charlotte Muller

A team of Kent State professors who represented the United States came in third place and received the bronze medal by beating England’s Chelsea School 1-0.

Eight university teams from different countries were invited to participate in the 2006 Universities Masters’ 6-a-side World Cup Soccer Tournament & Symposium, hosted at the University of Brighton in Eastbourne, England.

Teams consisted of seven to 12 recreational players who were all over the age of 45. However, each team was given the option of having a player as young as 40 years old.

Steve Mitchell, School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport professor and graduate coordinator, helped organize Kent State’s team of professors and alumni.

“Our team actually consisted of more international players than Americans,” said Mitchell, who was born in the United Kingdom. “I think multi-ethnicity is essentially what characterizes soccer in the United States.”

Along with the United States, teams from England, Canada, Jamaica, Switzerland, Ireland and Turkey registered.

The Kent State team bravely entered with two 50-year-olds.

“For injury prevention, as all participants were older, the organizers set rules that banned dangerous challenges or slide tackling,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell, who has been employed by Kent State for 14 years, said he found out about the tournament through a colleague at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

He said that since he plays in a local soccer league with other Kent State faculty and alumni, it was easy to bring up the idea to his teammates.

Liquid Crystal Institute director Oleg D. Lavrentovich, who is from Ukraine, was one of the first to join the team.

“Soccer is a life saver,” he said. “I’ve never seen a jogger smile, but when you play soccer, you run for enjoyment, especially when you can score.”

Lavrentovich came to Kent State in 1992 because it was the leading institution in his area of research.

He said that even though his background had nothing to do with the symposium, he went to England to participate and distribute hundreds of tiny black squirrels clips in an effort to spread some of Kent State around the world.

Integral to the soccer tournament was the International Symposium on Masters’ Soccer Communities: Sport & Fitness on the University Campus. The symposium provided a forum and social gathering to discuss issues related to soccer communities.

Mitchell spoke about the “Use of Game Sense/Tactical Games in High School Soccer Coaching” and “Masters Soccer in the USA: A Sociological Perspective.”

“Some of us coach youth soccer,” Lavrentovich said. “Steve is one of them. He really knows the science behind soccer skills; therefore, he did most of the talking.”

Both Mitchell and Lavrentovich thought it was a very successful happening; however, they would make it last a little longer the next time.

“Four games and a couple of presentations a day for two days is a lot, and especially with the financial commitment to fly over and pay for all expenses personally, that takes a lot from a person,” Mitchell said.

Nevertheless, there are plans to attend the next Universities Masters’ World Cup Tournament and Symposium in 2008.

“Overall it was such a good social, good academic and good athletic time,” Mitchell said.

Contact student wellness reporter Charlotte Muller at [email protected].