By Bailey VenJohn
The men’s soccer team has already accomplished something early in the season. There are six remaining players who came to Southwestern College as freshman during the 2011 season and have stuck it out to be seniors on the team this year.
This sounds like it should be typical especially on a team of 30 or so athletes, but when a team is accustomed to only having one or two seniors per season, it is quite a feat.
Jordan Garcia, senior midfielder, said the reason he has stuck around is because of the relationships he has built with the guys on the team, especially the seniors.
“I think it’s just everything we’ve been through in our first three years here. From having about 30 freshmen our first year and now five of us, going through the process to get a new head coach, having a one-win season, all the preseasons and off-seasons we’ve had together.”
Jacob Montoya, senior midfielder/defender, has also made the three-, soon to be four-year journey here.
“I chose SC because I felt the academic program here was great. The professors are here to help and I liked that,” said Montoya.
Garcia’s decision was more spur of the moment.
“It was a last minute decision for me,” said Garcia. “I realized late in the summer before freshmen year that I still wanted to keep playing.”
Angel Vadillo, student assistant, came into Southwestern with this group, but due to injury was only able to play his freshman year and has been a student coach ever since. He said the reason he has stayed is because he wanted to accomplish something with this team.
Vadillo explained that there was 30 plus freshmen in their incoming class and they are now down to six.
De La Cruz was a freshman in the 2011 season. His first time at SC, he only stayed for the fall semester. He returned in the fall semester of 2013.
Jess De La Cruz, junior midfielder, said, “I chose SC because I had the opportunity to play at a higher level. I like the small classes and personally knowing my professors. I decided to leave because I missed home and my family. I quickly found out that I missed being a student athlete.”
“When I went back home I was no longer a competitive soccer player, I was just a regular student. I wanted to be able to have a good education but also be able to play the sport that I love. I called some friends and Coach Yeisley and now I’m proud to be a part of the SC men’s soccer program.”
Through their past three years this class has gone through good and bad together including a new head coach and a one-win season in 2012-13.
Joseph Yeisley, men’s head coach, was an assistant coach during the seniors’ freshman season. He became head coach for their sophomore year.
The two other seniors who have played at SC for the four years are Dalton Carver, midfielder, and Luiz Reyes, midfielder.
De La Cruz said a goal for this season is to end with a winning record.
Overall they want to have made an impact on the program throughout their careers.
“We all have a strong bond with each other and want to do something great for this program,” said Montoya.
Garcia said, “I think if you were to ask the other seniors they would also say that they decided to stay to start to leave a mark in our program, to try to give it a winning season and to be able to make it far into playoffs.”
Bailey VenJohn is a junior majoring in communication. You may email her at email@example.com.