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Written by:
Paul Holland
27 Mar 2024

Cambridge University’s footballers put up a great fight at the end of term for the 150th Men’s Varsity Match. Following on from it we caught up with Trinity Hall’s Aram Sarkissian who was goalkeeper, and Deniz Ozer (wing / attacking midfielder) to discuss their journey into the sport and take a quick look at their season highlights.

Aram (second-year engineer) and Deniz (first-year Human, Social and Policitcal Sciences) started playing football from a very young age and both have their dads to thank for their start in the sport. Aram has been playing football for as long as he can remember and comes from a serious footballing household, so serious that he jokingly remarked that “[his] dad almost missed [his] birth playing football himself!” Deniz was also introduced to the sport when he was 4 or 5 years old with his dad taking him to football clubs after school and playing games in the garden. He’s continued to play ever since.

Balancing a sport commitment with studying at Cambridge is a huge feat and Cambridge University Association Football Club has a gruelling schedule. The team trains 3 times a week, mainly in the evenings, and then either hosts or travels to various matches throughout the season.

Aram and Deniz both enjoy following a routine to ensure that football and their studies are prioritised in their day-to-day life. Aram manages his intense engineering schedule by eliminating all distractions during the day to focus on his studies, leaving the evenings to solely focus on his football passion. He also finds it useful to work on the coach to and from away games, utilising that travel time to get extra work done. Deniz has also found a routine in his busy schedule and is fond of a ‘to-do’ list to keep him accountable for completing everything he needs to get done.

When asked about the team, the students had nothing but praise for their fellow football players. “There is a lot of respect within the team and I get along with them really well,” Aram stated and Deniz praises how welcoming the team has been, something he is thankful for due to it being his first year on the Light Blues. “We are all really close outside of football as well,” Deniz remarks and the skill levels of players makes for a highly successful and competitive team, both against other universities and between the Cambridge University squads.

Winning the BUCS Midlands Cup Final against Nottingham was the highlight of the season for both students. Deniz reminisced on the goal scored in the 88th minute that pushed Cambridge to beat Nottingham 2-1 and Aram’s personal highlight was his last-minute diving-save in the game that stopped Nottingham from equalising. Deniz gives an honourable mention to his goal against Essex as this was his first game playing for the Light Blues and got the team out of a deadlock and back in the game.

When asked about their inspirations, Deniz celebrated Eden Hazard (retired Real Madrid player) pointing out that he plays in the same position, and has a similar style of play, creating chances on the pitch wherever possible. Aram however says he is inspired by his dad as he owes all his football knowledge to the man who has supported him on the sidelines of “too many matches to count.”

The two Trinity Hall footballers played impressively on the pitch at the Men’s Varsity match, pushing through injury to put up a fight against Oxford University. Though it was a draw at full time, Oxford won on penalties.