Cai has solidified himself as one of CUAFC’s most dangerous attacking options, getting his name on the scoresheet eight times this seasonCambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC)

Hailing from Snowdonia in North Wales, Cai La Trobe-Roberts has burst onto the Cambridge University football scene. Alongside studying for his first year of Economics at Jesus College, the central attacker is one of the leading goalscorers for Cambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC) Blues, with eight to his name so far this season. In light of the upcoming Varsity match against Oxford, Varsity catches up with Cai about all things football, as well as how he’s settled into university life.

When asked about how he’s found adjusting to life at Cambridge, Cai not only mentions how sociable his college’s environment was but also it being a perfect environment for his footballing pursuits. Jesus has a sporty reputation, and Cai laughs this off as something he was aware of whilst applying: “I made a list of factors that were important to me when choosing a college, and the football pitch on site was ideal!” Jesus often has a number of supporters at their crucial matches given the proximity of the pitch to students’ accommodation, generating quite the atmosphere.

“[Football] was a natural introduction to new people, and it’s also been great to meet people from other colleges and expand my network”

Yet the luxury of on-site pitches is hardly the case for the Blues team, often having to travel across the midlands for their British Universities (BUCS) fixtures. Time management is important for most university students, but when you mix in multiple training sessions and away days, Cai notes that it can be difficult, “It comes in cycles - Wednesday is the peak when you just can’t manage your time,” he recollects, noting that away games commit his entire day to football. “I try to do a bit of work on the bus there, and I compensate with a few later evenings of work.” Aside from his Blues commitments and studying, he says that socialising a few nights per week keeps him sane: sometimes this is with the team, other times with friends off the field.

Away games naturally consume entire days, but sometimes it must be nice to get away from the intensity of Cambridge. When questioned about whether he’d been to any gems, Cai remarks that he’s “been to some stunners”, namely Northampton, Norwich, and Coventry.

Cai has often lined up alongside Tom Randall for the Light Blues, but will be facing him in today’s Cuppers semi-final clash with FitzwilliamCambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC)

Briefly departing from the CUAFC setup, college football “has been one of the highlights” for Cai so far, playing for Jesus I alongside the familiar face of ‘college Dad’ Tom Brookes. With the team pushing for both promotion in Division Two and glory in this year’s Cuppers competition, Cai expresses his excitement towards the squad: “We’ve actually got a really good team and the recent game against King’s was against a quality side,” which they won 9-3 to progress to the Cuppers semi-finals, where they’ll face the ferocious Fitzwilliam I side later this afternoon (19/02).

“College football “has been one of the highlights” for Cai so far, playing for Jesus I alongside the familiar face of ‘college Dad’ Tom Brookes”

Flicking back to his involvement in the Blues, Cai admits that he wasn’t sure what sport he’d take up at university in the weeks before Michaelmas term, noting that he deliberated between athletics, cross-country, and football. A combination of playing lots of football over summer and stumbling across a preseason Facebook post made it clear that continuing with football “just made sense”. According to Cai, partaking in preseason not only gave him a shot at the Blues, but it also gave him the chance to get to know Cambridge before many of his peers arrived: “I stayed in a youth hostel with two third-years and they showed me around Cambridge [...] I felt like a bit of an expert!” Football also opened doors socially for Cai: “It was a natural introduction to new people, and it’s also been great to meet people from other colleges and expand my network.”

The Blues will take on Leicester next time out, where they’ll look for a win to secure the Midlands Tier 2B titleCambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC)

His debut season for the Blues has currently seen them go unbeaten in all BUCS competitions, so when asking for a stand-out moment Cai smiles and says it’s hard to pick, but eventually narrows it down to two. The first memory came when playing UEA away in Norwich: “We were 2-0 down after a poor first-half performance but turned it around with two goals in five minutes, making it 3-2 by the 80th minute!” He claims that this performance in particular gave his side the confidence to believe they could win the league, for which the Blues only need one more win to clinch the title.

His second highlight was playing against Warwick, in what he describes as a “title decider” despite acknowledging that the job isn’t quite done yet. Nonetheless, the match against Warwick was incredibly important, with Cambridge coming away with a 2-0 win.


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With BUCS glory looming large, the annual clash between light and dark blue also lingers in the near-future. In terms of which Blues player Cai thinks we should be keeping an eye on during the Varsity match, he sighs: “I’d quite like to pick five, or six, or seven!” The fact that it was such a tough question is a testament to how good this side is. “Lumi [Kanwei] just doesn’t stop scoring,” he remarks, but it was first-year Girton student Reece Linney that Cai picked in the end: “He’s a machine; he’s the heartbeat of the team in centre-mid.” Given the trek from Girton to the team’s training sessions at the Homerton College Sports Ground, this judgement looks even more deserved.

CUAFC Blues are set to host Oxford University Association Football Club on Sunday 13th March at the Abbey Stadium, home to League One side Cambridge United. Cai reckons that the game will be quite cagey at the start, but confidently settles for a 4-1 win: “Our defence won’t let us down and we have great attacking options too, so we shouldn’t concede much.”

Tickets for this year’s Varsity football match can be bought here.