By Kaiyo Funaki
The men’s and women’s soccer season is coming to an abrupt end a mere four and a half weeks after it began, leaving players and coaches conflicted over what to make of this tumultuous year.
From the letdown of a canceled season in the fall to the fleeting joy of a condensed schedule this spring, both teams have dealt with a wide range of emotions as they approach their final game of the season.
Second-year center back for the men’s team Sora Konishi-Gray was disappointed by their brief schedule but was still appreciative of the efforts behind the scenes that ensured that they would play games at all.
“We were very fortunate to be able to play in the spring,” Konishi-Gray said. “The athletic trainers, they worked really hard to make this all possible for us to be able to play. Honestly, without them, none of this is possible.”
However, for women’s head coach Jeff Wilson, this abbreviated season was a bittersweet reminder of what could have been.
Wilson has led his team to the playoffs in four out of his five years at City College, but believed this year’s squad was the “deepest and most talented team ever assembled under my tenure.”
“That was really the unfortunate thing as a coach, is to know how special your team is, in terms of characters and also ability, and not be given the chance,” Wilson said. “I was so excited about being able to play a normal fall schedule and trying to compete for a state championship because I think we had the pieces in place to give it a run.”
Wilson’s squad has won all four matches they have played and notched three consecutive shutouts, reaffirming the high praise he had for his team.
Meanwhile, the men’s team has stumbled in their two scrimmages, both of which came against Cabrillo College. They have managed just one goal while conceding four across their two losses.
The team also had a game canceled against Las Positas College due to a positive COVID-19 test on the opposing team, a reminder of just how precarious this season is.
Neither team’s record means much in the grand scheme of things, as there is no conference title to play for or a bid for the postseason at stake.
Nonetheless, the physical and mental preparation for every practice and game remained the same for the student-athletes, who have dedicated their lives to improving their craft.
“The intensity and the attitude we approach the games, they felt pretty similar to how the games were in the fall season back in 2019,” Konishi-Gray said. “Everyone was excited to play, so I think that definitely helped keep us focused for the game itself.”
Sophomore defender Alyssa Forsman has felt a similar level of effort from her teammates.
“I really like how motivated everyone on our team is,” she said. “I constantly see my teammates pushing themselves and others to get better and improve their skills.”
Both teams have been working tirelessly to shake off 12 months of rust and develop chemistry, since the strides they have made this season should pay dividends next semester when the schedule presumably returns to normal.
Above all else, the student-athletes have been overjoyed just to be able to experience the competition and the camaraderie of their sport, even if it came in a limited fashion.
“We’re all just excited,” second-year center back for the men’s team Stone Garland said. “Everybody has a smile on their face when we’re out there.”
The men’s and women’s soccer teams will both conclude their season at home on April 15 in a match against Las Positas College.