Club sports offer new opportunities for new students


Photo courtesy of @uiucclubsoftball Instagram

The University of Illinois Club Softball team huddled at a game for the Indy Invitational during the weekend of Oct. 2, 2021. The University offers 35 different club sports that can be listed on the Campus Rec website.

By Drew Friberg, Sports Editor

Making the jump from high school to college can be tough mentally, and without a way for stress relief via activity, students may experience a lull in their happiness or feel a lack of belonging on campus.

Thankfully for new students, Illinois has many pipelines for both former and new athletes to get involved, meet friends with similar interests and get active. Sport RSOs are a perfect way to pick up a sport either for the first time or competitively. Each one differs in commitment level and competitiveness, so looking into each club is a good idea before showing up for the first meeting.

Quad Day is the perfect time to scope out some of these RSOs, but with many people out on the quad at once, it may get overwhelming to navigate and find all of the ways to get active on campus. Let’s get an idea of some of the clubs offered for students at Illinois.

On the Campus Recreation website, a link to the Club Sports directory gives students a brief description of 35 different RSOs, ranging from Illini Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club to Men’s Club Soccer. While club soccer is much more competitive, requiring a tryout to make the team, clubs like Climbing Club and Illini Cycling feature people of all skill levels and offer workshops to help hone students’ skills.

In addition to some of the more niche sports clubs, a lot of Division I sports have club teams that travel as a team and still compete nationally. For example, there is swim, gymnastics, baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. These sports have a much more competitive vibe than some of the other club sports, and sometimes have multiple practices a week. If this isn’t for you, maybe intramural versions of these sports may be the route you’ll want to take.

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In a lot of students’ first semester on campus, they tend to play it safe and decide to join clubs later. Joining clubs on Quad Day is one of the best ways to meet new people and get acclimated to campus quickly.

Whether you choose a Division I sport or a lesser-known sport that you are likely trying for the first time, Illinois is one of the best places to be for a wide selection of sports to try out. Don’t miss this opportunity! With our large and diverse student body, there are sure to be clubs that suit your fancy. 

Whether you try kendo, cycling or hockey, you’ll make new friends and find a way to be active on campus. Put down your name and email at any club that seems like it might be fun, go to the first meeting and give it a try.



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