Two-and-out: club football suspends season

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The team was established prior to the 2013 season and practiced the entire 2013 year without games before playing against opponents in 2014. (Photo courtesy of DePaul club football)

A year ago, DePaul’s club football team rostered over 30 students and a full coaching staff. Today, two students remain entirely committed to a team with no upcoming season.

John Measner is a junior and is now the president of the team. Measner joined the team two years ago during the club’s first year, and played last year in the club’s first season.

“We’re left with what we have now,” Measner said. “Last year’s team took two years to build, so naturally a lot of them graduated.”

The co-founders of the team, Riley Halligan and Devin Miller, built the team during their scholastic careers at DePaul. So few players remain on the team now, because most of them were Miller and Halligan’s age. However, the unfortunate vacuum of talent isn’t the only issue that’s plagued the modern D-Men.

Many of the former players are no longer on the team due to injuries to themselves and those around them.

“A lot of the kids weren’t in football shape,” said Rob Gutierrez, a junior on the team, himself recovering from a torn ACL. “It’s tough to keep kids when they see these injuries.”

Players would sometimes not even show up to games. “It was like we were playing schoolyard pick-up” Gutierrez said.

Club football itself presents an issue. Teams are rarely successful at the college level, as the sport combines an activity that requires discipline and commitment, and the qualifier of being a club. Playing football is a dangerous sport, and it seems every year the consensus is that it’s even more dangerous. That’s a tough sell to a freshmen looking for an extra-curricular to boost their resume.

If the purgatory state of club football wasn’t enough to doom DePaul’s program, a marred relationship with an ex-coach might be.

Head Coach Carlos Jones is no longer with the program.However, it doesn’t appear that there is any love lost over his absence.

“The way he set the program out would drive kids away,” said Guiterrez, who went on to cite arguments he had with the coach. “We would argue over defensive schemes… and he would tell kids that they had ‘ghost injuries.’”

There has never been any evidence that ghosts are real, but torn ACL’s and concussions don’t need a show on the Travel Channel to prove they exist. Coach Jones is no longer with the team, and the rest of the coaching staff is set to return next year.

Despite countless obstacles in their way, Gutierrez and Measner refuse to call it quits on the program. Both are optimistic about the future of club football at DePaul.

“I could see us being competitive in the NCFA in five years,” said Measner. “Not just there, but competitive.”