After tussle with administration, FIFA club returns

From scuba to knitting, Westminster clubs serve a wide variety of student interests. Until this year, students could not play a popular video game, FIFA, in an academic setting.  Seniors Billy McGahan, Michael Wilson, and Rahil Kamath saw a need to fill this gap, which resulted in the founding of the FIFA club. Despite lacking Xboxes and being reprimanded for breaking school rules by the Upper School administration, the FIFA Club hopes to attain success.

FIFA is a soccer video game that can be played online with friends or offline. Many students, especially boys, have been swept by the FIFA craze. This phenomenon has popularized both professional and Westminster soccer in the school community.

McGahan saw a need for students to get more time playing “large amounts of FIFA.” Additionally, the club leadership hopes to strengthen soccer culture at school by starting club meetings with talking about professional soccer and comparing favorite teams.

The FIFA mission statement states, “Our mission is to play as much FIFA as we can and to create a school wide power ranking system to decide who really is the best FIFA player at our school.”

It will certainly be hard to create a ranking system like the one proposed, but the FIFA club’s goal of playing virtual soccer can definitely be achieved, as approximately 75 students signed up at September’s club fair.

“The club fair was instrumental for us,” said Wilson.

The leaders plan to have two consoles owned by club members on campus full time for club members to play whenever they have the opportunity. Without a set meeting time, the club plays whenever they get the chance. Usually, there will be someone playing or discussing FIFA in the WCAT room or the Exploratorium on a Wednesday morning or after school.

The timing of the meetings have led to some issues. Students began to skip Thursday morning assemblies to play their favorite video game with friends.

“They were playing during school hours,” said dean of boys Tony Souza, “and we stopped them from playing in an area where they didn’t have permission.”

Rumors were spreading that one of the most popular clubs was going to be shut down, upsetting countless Upper School students.

“We got it back from [Souza],” said Wilson.“It’s not a problem.”

While the club leadership and Souza may have resolved their original issue, the FIFA club does not have an Xbox on campus right now. FIFA club faculty sponsor Daniel Searl and the founders of the FIFA club are still figuring out how to play video games while abiding by school rules.

When the FIFA club officially returns to campus, the students who signed up at the club fair can come by to play. There are no restrictions for joining the club; everyone is welcome.

“You should all come try out,” said McGahan. “There is a two-page application, though.”

The application asks for information about your background with FIFA such as favorite players and teams. It also requires applicants to prove to the leaders that their “FIFA Ultimate Teams” are skilled enough to compete in the club.

The tryout process does not have strict regulations, but applicants must prove that they have enough knowledge of soccer and FIFA ability to contend with other students. As of now, there are over 60 unofficial members who have not had their tryout yet.     

Freshman Eli Barry is one of those without a tryout.

“I haven’t been able to go to a meeting yet,” said Barry, “but I would love to go to a few to talk about and play one of my favorite sports with friends.”

All are welcome to try out the club for one session to get acclimated to the high level of competition that exists within the FIFA club.. The leaders plan on having after school tournaments to crown the king of Westminster FIFA.