ONEONTA _ Students at the State University College at Oneonta are hoping that they can kick their way into the record books by hosting the world's largest soccer game.

The attempted feat is planned for April 17 and is the second time SUCO students have tried to get 1,000 people on one field for a game of soccer.

Twenty years ago, 752 college students and area residents played in a game at SUCO that featured college President Alan B. Donovan in one goal and then-Mayor David Brenner in the opposite goal. Donovan's "red" team beat Brenner's "white" team, 5-3.

"I was a 1-year-old when the first game was going on," said Student Association President Jared Lefkowitz, who is one of the organizers for the event.

SUCO is a great school with a strong academic program, Lefkowitz said, but he was looking for ways to build school pride.

"Pride can only be done from the bottom up," Lefkowitz said.

He said he was leafing through a copy of "In Honor and Good Faith" _ a book detailing SUCO's history from 1965 to 1990 _ when he happened across photographs from the original game.

"I said, How cool is this, let's do it again,'" he said.

Lefkowitz and his group of organizers researched the original game, established a website and produced a commercial.

"We'd really like to bring in the community," Lefkowitz said.

Money raised through sponsorships and donations will go towards the Alan B. Donovan Scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time in fall 2009, according to a media release from the college.

Donovan is retiring at the end of the spring semester after 20 years at the helm of SUCO.

Asked if Donovan _ who was in his first semester at SUCO when the original game was held _ would reprise his role in goal, Lefkowitz said the students are still working on it.

"We're trying to get him on a rigorous training program," Lefkowitz said.

The game will be played at SUCO's All College Field and is open to area residents ages 18 and up, who must sign a waiver to participate.

The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will consist of two, 15-minute halves. Twelve referees and an over-sized ball will be used. There is a pre-game show and a halftime show planned, according to the website.

Participation is free, but donations will be accepted.

The focus is on reaching 1,000 players, Lefkowitz said.

"We're trying to break our own record," Lefkowitz said.

Students are reaching out to Guinness World Records in order to determine if a documented record exists for the world's largest soccer game, he said, and to find out what would need to be done to break it.

After the 1988 game, Donovan told The Daily Star he quickly learned to stay on his feet while in goal.

"I tried once diving for a save and saw about 300 people charging me," Donovan said then.

Registration for the game will end Saturday, according to the event's website.

"We're trying to get a surplus amount of people to sign up," Lefkowitz said.

The students are also seeking volunteers to help with crowd control, food service and "sneaker police" to ensure only flat-soled shoes are worn on the artificial surface of the field.

"The community can sign up right on the website," Lefkowitz said.

The students are also looking for business sponsors who can receive advertising in exchange for a donation.

The website is at www.oneonta.edu/wlsg, and the commercial may be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaOyrNcZAO4.

Trending Video

Recommended for you