By Joe Horning
Following its 32-28 win over UW Parkside, the UW-Milwaukee club football team finished out its regular season last Saturday. It brings an exciting end to a great season for the Panthers, who finished 4-0 in club play, including two defeats of Parkside this season. This season the Panthers were ranked 12th nationally among club football teams.
While it may have seemed like just another ordinary season, the national ranking might help propel the team to new heights. This year the team was transferred to the university’s Sports and Recreation department, which can help lead to more direct funding and recognition.
Next year, the team hopes to join the National Club Football Association, according to Head Coach Dave Mogensen. If they were to join it, they would be able to be able to compete for a national title in a playoff system. According to Mogensen, they need about sixty players. They have a current roster of about forty but hope to recruit from next year’s incoming freshman.
One of the team’s newest players, sophomore wideout William Bott, believes that this team is on the cusp of being something great.
“We have a lot of great players and as this program etches on, people are going to start to take notice of it and that will only benefit us moving forward,” said Bott.
Ian Lutfiyya, a junior who is currently the backup quarterback, believes the program is heading in a great direction with its players and coaching.
“Coach really has us in the right mindset. He puts in the time,” Lutfiyya said. “He texted me last night and said ’I’m going to make dinner for the wife, they’ll be in bed by 11, then I’m going to drink a redbull and watch Parkside film’ So he’s committed, and that’s what you need when you’re getting a program started like this.”
The university wants to get more behind the program, also according to Lutfiyya. They are looking into getting some grants and new equipment for the team.
With the outlook of the team, the UWM Panthers Club Football team is looking to rise up and prove themselves as legitimate players.
“We aren’t just a powder-puff club football team. We get out there and we hit hard,” said Lutfiyya.