By Kaiyo Funaki
Three of City College’s teams are finally able to compete against other colleges after months of speculation and uncertainty over the progression of the Spring I season. The men’s and women’s soccer team and women’s water polo team have each cobbled together a schedule just one month before the conclusion of the early spring session. This development came as a minor surprise to women’s soccer head coach Jeff Wilson, who did not anticipate a schedule to materialize in time.
“There had been talks of something happening for a while, but nothing had really come about,” he said. “When we got approved… it just came down to each individual school and whether they had protocols in place.”
City College student-athletes have been practicing since February in preparation for competitions, but with colleges from other counties struggling to come to a common ground with their respective local health departments, simply finding opponents to play against became a difficult task.
“The vast majority of the teams in our conference opted out.” men’s soccer head coach Adam Lucarelli said. “Our Spring I season ends April 17… so it was quite a challenge to put things together.”
As it stands, the men’s soccer team will play three games, with their first game at Las Positas College. Then, they will play back-to-back home games against Cabrillo and Las Positas to finish their spring campaign.
The women’s soccer team has a two-game set with Las Positas and a home game against Cabrillo, as well as a road game at West Valley College. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams competed in their only scrimmage of the season last week at Cabrillo.
The women’s water polo team will have a single intersquad scrimmage to prepare, before traveling to Cabrillo for their first game. They will also have a home game against West Valley and an away game at Las Positas.
Because this abbreviated season has zero playoff ramifications, coaches will utilize this opportunity to “build momentum and get ready for fall,” Wilson said. “I view it as an extended training camp.”
And though all three coaches interviewed reiterated the importance of working towards the future, they also mentioned how vital it was to restore a semblance of order and structure for their players right now.
“I think for my guys, they’re passionate about their sport, and to not be able to play it for over a year, it’s kind of devastating for their psyche, their mental well-being, their physical well-being. Being a college athlete… it’s a large part of their identity,” Lucarelli said.
Women’s water polo head coach Phong Pham shared a similar perspective as his colleague. “This is a chance for team members to get back some normalcy in their lives, and it gives us something to work toward, having a goal to compete for,” he said.
These games will have a little extra meaning for some student-athletes, though, as it might be the last time they will ever play for City College.
Fernanda Ramirez, a sophomore on the women’s soccer team, is transferring after this semester and was convinced that she would never step foot onto the pitch as a Ram ever again. “I thought that I was not going to be able to play my last year at City College,” she said.
Other student-athletes, like Samantha McEvoy of the water polo team, are waiving their year of eligibility to return next semester. However, McEvoy did not take for granted the opportunity to compete alongside their teammates. “This has been a really hard year. A lot of us have struggled and had a difficult time coping,” they said. “This is such a great and healthy outlet, as we really need that support that we have for each other.”