Although its inclusion at Tokyo 2020 is not yet guaranteed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given cheerleading provisional status as an Olympic sport.
In this video, Harriet Stallard – who recently joined UAL’s cheer team – tells Elephant Sport why people should give cheerleading a chance to establish itself as a sport. Stallard, who plays football as well, also talks about how cheer has given her the opportunity to meet new people and improve her fitness.
This edition of ES TV sees reporter Daniel Racheter interview University of the Arts London’s women’s volleyball player Francisca L. Dias.
Francesca discusses her experience of beach volleyball and the stereotypes surrounding it
She also explains that although British volleyball faces uncertainty at international level, with its funding drastically cut, the spirit and competitiveness in the university game is high – although UAL’s recent results haven’t been great…
Produced and edited by Daniel Racheter and Shan Gambling
University of the Arts London’s women’s hockey president Dhalyn Warren discusses the rising participation in her sport after Team GB’s gold medal success at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Women’s hockey has seen a surge in interest since Britain beat favourites the Netherlands in the final in Rio, including plenty of interest at university level.
Warren also reflects on the university’s use of London 2012 Olympics venue Lee Valley, explains what her role entails, and the talks about the benefits hockey brings to players both on and off the field.
Produced and edited by Daniel Racheter and Shannon Gambling.
Elephant Sport’s Oliver Norgrove, Shan Gambling and Daniel Racheter visit a UAL women’s volleyball training session to speak to the team’s new coach, Heiner Alzate.
Originally from Colombia, Alzate played professionally for 10 years before turning to refereeing and coaching. He hopes to instil in his young players the tricks of the trade that he learned as a player in South America.
Norgrove asks him about the transition from playing with men to coaching women, comparisons between volleyball in Colombia and the UK, the challenges that the sport of volleyball faces, and how UAL’s season is progressing.
The video can be watched in full below. You can also find out more about the UAL women’s volleyball team here.
FIFA is like the popular kid at school. It barely tries to impress, treats most people like crap but remains loved by everyone.
Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) is like one of those perfectly nice but awkward kids that resorts to giving away free sweets just for a moment of attention while always somehow remaining unnoticed.
According to analyst Daniel Ahmad’s Twitter feed, FIFA 17 has sold 40 times more copies than PES 17, having shifted more than 1.1 million units while PES couldn’t even reach 50k. It’s a pattern that been repeated in recent year. Here’s a few reasons why this might be:
Licences: While FIFA has the rights to all the official club and player names, PES has to improvise. Classic examples include: London FC (Chelsea), Hampshire Red (Southampton) and my personal favourite, Man Blue (Man City). Bonus example: back in the day Cafu’s name was Facu.
Peer pressure: If I went out and bought PES I’d have no-one to play it with because everyone else has FIFA. The EA Sports game has become the norm and it feels like this snowball is just getting bigger and bigger.
The name: I don’t have to go out and do a survey to know that about 99% of British fans call the beautiful game football, not soccer. This is a pretty serious deal. I have seen armies of keyboard warriors threaten anyone who disagrees. I think Konami would be taken more seriously if they called it Pro Evolution Football but I guess PEF doesn’t quite have the same ring as PES.
Game play: The fast pace and easy scoring always made PES feel like an arcade game while FIFA’s painstaking attention to detail, steady gameplay and genuine feeling of accomplishment after scoring gives it more of a simulator vibe.
Barcelona: The main selling point for PES 17 is its licence for Barcelona. As great as this is, it’s a well-known fact that if you’re playing with a friend or online and you pick Barcelona you will be labelled as someone with no skill whatsoever. I know this because I quite often play as Barcelona.
Soundtracks: Both games have always had decent soundtracks but FIFA always seems to have the edge by including more songs. This is especially helpful when you’re spending hours and hours playing career mode. Listening to the same 11 songs on PES while playing a 40+ matches season can become more than tedious.
From a personal standpoint I prefer FIFA simply because it’s something that I’m more accustomed to. The last Pro Evolution Soccer instalment I owned was 14.
As mentioned in my second point, FIFA is a game that’s played by all my friends and their minds are made up as much as mine. Even if I’d want to give the new PES a try I don’t really fancy spending £55 on a game I’m sceptical about, and there’s no-one I could borrow it from. There’s always demos but I feel they never give a big enough picture and feel of the game.
Can it ever change?
I have seen a lot of people on social media who don’t think FIFA 17 is that great. The main criticisms were that player statistics don’t work properly (Messi outjumping Ibrahimović for a header or Mertesacker keeping pace with Sterling?) and set-piece play becoming unnecessarily complicated.
Even the new ‘Journey’ mode has been criticised for being only one season long.
In addition, Pro Evolution Soccer 17 has received very positive reviews overall and its overall score was lower than FIFA only by a tiny margin.
Maybe this year could be the turning point in the football gaming industry where the unnoticed kid at school finally gets their lucky break….
The big day on the UAL sports calendar had finally arrived. Varsity seemed to come and go just like that, but what a day to be a part of.
UAL and Goldsmiths met at Haberdasher Aske’s sports ground in Nunhead, south London for the first time in Varsity history. The sun was shining and crowds were beginning to appear, with both sides hoping to go home with The Arts Cup.
The first game of the day was the Men’s football 3rds. A quick start from the Arts saw them go 1-0 up in under a minute, but Goldsmiths managed to grab one back to set the scene for a competitive day.
UAL scored two more before half-time, which almost put the game to bed. However, Goldsmiths came out for the second half all guns blazing, managing to get another goal back to make it 3-2.
UAL dug in deep to avoid conceding again and in turn scored soon after the Goldsmiths goal. With Goldsmiths heads held low, the Arts scored three more before the final whistle, with striker Marley Nesbitt hitting a hat-trick. The game finished 7-2 to UAL and an exciting day was up and running.
There were two match-ups at 11am, with Badminton and Netball 2nds the second and third games of the day. Wins were shared as UAL won the badminton against a strong Goldsmiths side, and Goldsmiths Netball 2nds won 26-22. In the sole noon start, Arts triumphed 15-8 over Goldsmiths in Ultimate Frisbee.
“A moment of genius from Arts midfielder Nan Xie saw him produce a mesmerising run through what seemed to be five Goldsmiths players”
Men’s football 2nds kicked off at 12.10pm with UAL raring to add to the 3rds’ victory, particularly against a Goldsmiths team which hadn’t impressed in the league this season. There were glimpses of some good football in the first half but no stand-out performances from either side, so it was 0-0 at the break with all to play for.
The game looked to be going to penalties, with last year’s shoot-out still fresh in the mind of both sets of players. Then a moment of genius from Arts midfielder Nan Xie saw him produce a mesmerising run through what seemed to be five Goldsmiths’ players and then stroke the ball past the opposing keeper. With just minutes to go, Arts’ must have thought it was all over.
However, a late Goldsmiths shot forced a save from Arts’ keeper James Hoang, but no-one was able to stop the rebound. So the game went straight to penalties, and a tense shootout resulted in a Goldsmiths’ win – unlucky for a hard-working Arts side, but credit to Goldsmiths’ 2nds who refused to throw in the towel.
With crowds beginning to build for the later games, fans watching the Netball 1sts match were treated to a thrilling contest as Goldsmiths’ emerged victorious 16-15.
UAL hit back with wins in women’s basketball and women’s football in the early afternoon. In the mixed hockey match, a strong Arts side proved to be too much for Goldsmiths to handle as they won 3-2. As 2pm rolled around, Goldsmiths’ cheerleaders and Rugby 1sts prevailed over UAL.
With the score tied at 6-6 before the final game of The Arts Cup 2016, tension was high for both camps.
Every game of the day apart from Men’s football 1sts had finished and both sets of fans were in full voice. Both sets of players knew how much a win would mean to their fellow students and, after losing the cup last year, Goldsmiths’ seemed to be out for blood.
The pitch had taken quite a battering after hosting three football matches that same day, so while the game began with some good movement and passing, it soon descended into a welter of late, scrappy tackles and long balls up field.
It was clear that both sides were capable of a higher quality of football but the pitch would not allow it. After three minutes, a slip from an Arts centre-back Luke Cooksey allowed a through ball to reach the Goldsmiths striker which was put straight past goalkeeper John Pownall.
Just when UAL seemed to be getting a hold on the game, a scrappy piece of play on the edge of the UAL area resulted in an outrageous goal from a Goldsmiths’ midfielder, a volley from an awkward angle into the top right hand corner.
UAL finally managed to get a grip and had some great opportunities through striker Will Mowbray and winger Kovi Konowiecki. But some well-organised defending and a stupendous display from the Goldsmiths’ keeper kept Arts at bay for the remainder of the game which finished 2-0 to Goldsmiths.
That meant Goldsmiths lifted The Arts Cup and earned themselves bragging rights for the next 12 months. A great day finished at the Goldsmiths student union where all players joined for an enjoyable evening.
Unlike in the US, college sport here in the UK is low-profile not seen as a big deal – unless you actually play it.
Due to committing myself to a football team outside of UAL for the first two years of my degree, I’d never had the opportunity to represent the university until this year when I decided to take a break from weekend and midweek games.
“I was struggling to buy into the intensive hype leading up to the ‘Big V’ “
So whenever I’d previously heard excited talk of ‘Varsity’, I was pretty sceptical about its hallowed status on the UAL sporting calendar.
For those not in the know, Varsity is the day when UAL teams go toe-to-toe with local rivals Goldsmiths and compete in a range of sports from football to ultimate Frisbee to cheerleading to determine this year’s champion.
As it drew closer, all the chatter was about the importance of not losing to our south London rivals and winning bragging rights for the next 12 months.
If I’m being brutally honest, I was struggling to buy into the intensive hype leading up to the ‘Big V’ – after all, it’s only a game of football at university (although I wouldn’t dare of said that to anyone involved leading up it).
Come the big day, and the first thing that struck me was the atmosphere of camaraderie between all the UAL football teams.
All three men’s sides met at 9am for breakfast together, a fitting way to build up to the big occasion. There was no divide between them, a friendly and positive environment to set the tone for the rest of the day.
The Men’s 3rds kicked off at 10.30am, meaning everyone else had to go and support them.
My first thought was ‘that means I’ll be there five hours before we kick off’, but it didn’t take me long to buy into what this was all about. It’s more than just your one game, it’s the occasion, so regardless of whether you’re playing in the morning or afternoon everyone is expected to get behind each team.
It didn’t take long for the netball teams, cheerleaders, rugby all to join the party either which made it even more evident that it’s about more than just playing your sport.
I was looking at it from an outsider’s point of view as I only knew people from my team, so seeing everyone embrace the occasion was something special and a testament to everyone who puts in work behind the scenes of the university’s sports clubs.
It seemed like a tight-knit family throughout the day which is something that will stay with me.
At the start of the week, I was thinking ‘it’s only a game’. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win, i just didn’t grasp how important it is to some people.
I certainly did after just half hour – you only have to see the reaction to a goal. UAL Men’s 3rds gave Goldsmith’s a 7-2 drubbing although the celebrations from players and spectators didn’t change once from the first goal to the seventh. It was at that moment I realised how big Varsity is.
“It certainly got to me and now I realised why everyone was so fired up by the occasion”
If the 3rds victory was an eye-opener, the 2nds’ shoot-out defeat was another. After UAL had taking the lead midway through the second half thanks to a fantastic solo effort from Nan Xie, Goldsmiths scored late on to take the game to a penalties where they prevailed. Cue glum faces of disappointment.
Our game was the last of an intense Varsity programme, and due to events that happened earlier it was the decider as to who won Varsity 2016.
As kick-off got closer, the tension increased. If someone said to me as I left my house that morning I would get nerves prior to kick-off, I wouldn’t have believed them.
But after witnessing a day of ups and downs it certainly got to me and now I realised why everyone was so fired up by the occasion.
A soggy pitch with one end a mud bath near the penalty area had certainly suffered after three hard-fought matches.
“To come off at full-time with people praising your performance despite our losing effort was a highlight of my university days that I won’t forget”
We found ourselves 2-0 down after 20 minutes, and despite knocking on the door on a number of occasions with Kovi Konowiecki and Will Mowbray strikes, a determined Goldsmiths back line couldn’t be breached, meaning they won the game and more importantly won Varsity 2016.
It surprised me that I was genuinely gutted about losing. However it made me realise I’d embraced Varsity: going to the breakfast, dressing up smart, supporting each side that’s playing, socialising with other members of the university, all the finer details that make it what it is.
On reflection, it made me wonder why I didn’t pursue playing for the university from the start. Yes, I had other commitments, but I don’t think I enjoyed them half as much as I did turning out for UAL. Playing with this group has restored my appetite for the game.
To come off at full-time with people praising your performance despite our losing effort was a highlight of my university days that I won’t forget.