Donning cleats and black and gold jerseys, the Nearly Headless Knights holds regular practices to stay on top of its game. However, this is not your regular club sports team.
With PVC pipes, volleyballs and a little magic, the UCF Quidditch team is hitting the field and heading back to nationals in the U.S. Quidditch Cup 12, held in Round Rock, Texas, on April 13 and April 14.
The team played in the U.S. Quidditch Cup 11 and won its first national game in April 2018 against the Tufts University Tufflepuffs 110 to 50.
Quidditch, which originates from the Harry Potter series, features seven players on each team. According to the U.S. Quidditch website, each team tries to score points by throwing a volleyball through a hoop while simultaneously trying to capture the Golden Snitch, which will immediately end the game.
While the U.S. Quidditch Cup is nationally recognized with over 150 teams and 4,000 players, not many people know about the UCF Quidditch team, said Brandon Clark, sophomore mathematics major and UCF Quidditch treasurer.
"Not many people that I run into have heard of the actual sport," Clark said.
The UCF Quidditch team formed in 2012. Although some players refer to their team as "small" and "unknown," the Nearly Headless Knights players said they are proud of their accomplishments.
"Last year, we only won one game out of four,” Clark said. “This year, we're hoping to make [it] to the second day which means we'll at least win two games, maybe three."
While this is an accomplishment for the team since its inception in 2012, the team faced obstacles before getting this far.
As a Registered Student Organization, the Nearly Headless Knights have the opportunity to have the Student Government Association fund part of its club conferences or events.
According to SGA's Senate Working Fund, the UCF Quidditch team did not receive funding for the 2018-2019 school year.
However, after being unable to secure the funding, the team decided to go ahead and raise its own funding this year, said Kelly Hazel, team president.
Using creative ways such as hosting a telethon and participating in partial proceeds with local businesses, the Nearly Headless Knights raised nearly $1,000 to go back to nationals.
Hazel said although planning the trip to nationals is not easy, the UCF Quidditch team is excited to be going back.
Carlton Clinkscales, community Quidditch player in Orlando and Flagler College graduate, said the UCF team is one of the better teams in the country and deserves recognition.
"It takes a lot," he said. "Just like any sport, you know, it deserves a lot of respect."