The Bridge Goes to Try-Outs!
I have been a huge fan of soccer all my life, but I haven’t played since high school. On Saturday, April 29th, I was given the opportunity to participate in the PCC Men’s Soccer tryouts held at the Hillsboro Stadium. Once I got there, I was introduced to Walter Arevalo, the head coach, who gave me an overview of the tryouts, then I was handed a yellow jersey.
Aside from participating in the tryouts, I was curious to know more about the experiences of other players. I met and interviewed Mamad Karen, Gemachu Hamaya, Aldo Meraz, and Moises Mejia. Soon after the warm-ups, we played a game of scrimmage with 2 teams while the other teams practiced on their own.
The scrimmages started at 25 minutes long, and were shortened to 15 minutes towards the end of the tryouts with each team playing a total of 3 games. By steadily increasing the difficulty of scrimmage formations, Mr. Arevalo was able to observe how well the players adapted their style and teamwork.
While it was a great sight of red and yellow jerseys, I hadn’t played in over a year, and I feel like I was not at my best. This tryout showed me that my passion for soccer is still there, and I know it is something I want to work on. Although, I do feel like I know my strengths and my weaknesses much better now.
“I love playing soccer and thought I’d do it for the school.”
When the tryouts were done, we all got together on the bleachers in the stadium and that’s when Mr. Arevalo explained some important upcoming dates. For instance, May 20th, is when the players start training by invitation only. 32 players will start, and then the number of players is narrowed down to 25-27 players who will make up the 2017-2018 Panther team.
Mr. Arevalo emphasized that in order to play for the PCC soccer team, a player must be enrolled in 12 credit classes, must take a physical test, a concussion test, and a psychological test online. Some players may also need to be enrolled in a summer “soccer class.” Mr. Arevalo also pointed out that a player must be passing his classes in order to stay on the team; if he is failing one or more classes, then they become ineligible.
Mr. Arevalo told me his ideal player is someone that “is coachable, humble, shows discipline, is bold, eager to continue learning, but makes sure academics come first.” I wanted to find out more about the students who came to try out and see if they fit this description.
When asked about his interest in playing for the team, player and first-year PCC student Moises Mejia said, “Be in shape, improve my skills as a soccer player, and soon play for a University or get scouted.” Second-year player and student Gemachu Hamaya echoed that by saying that he simply loved soccer and wanted, “to be part of the team and get ready for division one soccer.”
“This experience taught me more about the PCC community because everyone there was supportive of each other.”
When asked why he was trying out for the soccer team, second-year student, Mamad Karen said, “because it is amazing to be involved in sports and a sport I love to play.” Aldo Meraz replied, “I love playing soccer and thought I’d do it for the school.” When asked what they expected to get out of this experience, Karen added “leadership and sportsmanship.” Meraz on the other hand said, “I expect to learn how to play as a team and really feel like I have gained some great friends.”
This rang true for me because I saw the team as a friendly gathering and a place for connections and personal growth. Overall, the feeling I got was that these players love soccer, and they want to achieve their dreams of playing on a competitive level.
This experience taught me more about the PCC community because everyone there was supportive of each other. The second-year soccer players were very welcoming to the first-year students who were trying out. I noticed that there were conversations between players on the sidelines as well as players practicing between scrimmages.
While I could feel some sense of competition, overall the experience showed me that the men’s PCC Soccer Team is truly a team in every sense of the word. If you would like to experience this first-hand then you should attend their first game on August 30, at 11:00am at the 53rd. Ave. field.