Campus Life

Students Find Common Ground—and Passion—in Mason Soccer Course

Text and video by Paul King

The languages fly around the pitch like so many shots on goal: Farsi, Spanish, French, even English occasionally. Shrill voices shout “Allez! Allez!”  and “Vamos! Vamos!” Clearly, “Let’s go!” is uttered with the same urgency in any language on the soccer field.

Welcome to Introduction to Soccer (PHED 102), a 1-credit course offered by George Mason University’s School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism,  which teaches students the basic elements of soccer, including dribbling, kicking, passing, and various strategies.

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, played by more than 250 million people in more than 200 countries, and this course reflects the game’s universal appeal.

In the course, George Mason students not only learn about diversity, they experience it firsthand.  As an inclusive learning environment with nearly 33,000 students, Mason has a student body that represents more than 130 countries.

“They all speak the same language in terms of their passion for soccer. They have different backgrounds, but their love for soccer is the same,” says course instructor Guillermo Tolaba, who hails from Argentina. “They share that love for soccer and how they treat soccer in their hometown.”

Soccer is a popular sport at Mason. Photo by Creative Services.

Soccer is a popular sport at Mason. Photo by Creative Services.

“We’re all from different cultures and different countries, but since we are in the U.S. and we all speak English, it doesn’t really matter,” says Mason student Sung Lee, a finance major. “There are different accents, and it’s kind of fun to meet a variety of people.”

“It’s always fun to meet new people and to get to experience new cultures,” says sophomore Ali Alnajdi, a marketing major. “Expand your horizons.”

The six-week Introduction to Soccer course will be held during the spring 2013 semester beginning in March. There are still spots available in the course.

This article originally appeared on the university’s News site.

To read more stories about Mason, check out the university’s News site.

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