Soccer assists time of transition, life

San Pablo native takes on leadership role, recruits players

By Stacie Guevara, Advocate Staff

Sindy Mendoza is not your average soccer player.

Looking tough to win a game, being a good team player and loving the sport contributes to her soccer her persona.

She also loves reading, finishing about two books every week, and she values having an openness to everyone.

“I love meeting new people and being social. I feel like that’s one of the things that I’m really happy that I’m able to do,” Mendoza said.

A Bay Area native, the 20-year-old has lived in San Pablo her whole life.

After spending the summer taking a Statistics course here at CCC and practicing soccer with coach Ted Steen, biology major Mendoza is now co-captain of the women’s soccer team along with psychology major Noemi Gomez.

Mendoza attended Making Waves Academy, a public charter school in Richmond, from fifth to 12th grade.

In her freshman and sophomore years of high school, she played softball at Making Waves, but then went into soccer and found a love for it.

Mendoza found Making Waves to be a blessing because of their scholarship programs and financial advising coaching.

“This past year has been a tough one for me, financially and personally. I feel like they helped a lot with that, and it’s a big relief that I know that I have them in my corner,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza is currently on educational leave from UC Merced, where she will return in spring 2020.

“Last semester, I had a lot of financial issues, which created a lot of problems at Merced. It was just a really tough semester. I still had a lot of stuff at home going on — it was a really emotionally and physically draining semester.”

After a difficult semester at UC Merced, Mendoza got involved with the soccer team here at CCC, but she was not able to get everything fixed until late summer.

“I didn’t want last semester to repeat itself, so I decided to just stay here, get things figured out and head back when I feel like I’m emotionally ready,” Mendoza said.

Now a full-time student at CCC, she loves the environment and said it is good to stay home.

As a Mexican-American, Mendoza has a lot of respect for her Mexican roots.

She refers to her family as a soccer family, and they are excited to go to her games and see her play.

She loves soccer and says she is very passionate about it.

“It’s something that I’ve always been driven to do. It always motivated me to do better,” Mendoza said.

She first heard about CCC’s women’s soccer team and its revival from a member of the men’s soccer team.

She had not played in a long time, but one day she finally got the nerve and went to a summer practice where she met Steen.

“I loved his coaching style because throughout the years, I’ve had a lot of coaches and I’ve never met a coach who handles practice so well,” Mendoza said.

Because she and Gomez were the only players who repeatedly went to summer practices, Steen chose them both to be co-captains.

“Sindy is able to communicate with the players off the field and gives encouragement in practices,” coach Steen said.

While Mendoza calls Gomez more skilled than she, she refers to herself as the support system for the team.

They balance each other out well, teammates say.

“Sindy is the glue and the motivation and Noemi brings the energy,” teammate and business major Elisavet Naranjo said.

Though soccer is a big part of her life, Mendoza is still a student. She walks home after early morning practices and then back to campus to get to classes.

One obstacle that she faced was the struggle of trying to get women to join the soccer team, but she has hope for success with a team of 14 members now.

The women’s soccer team’s first game is on Friday at 4 p.m. versus Merritt College on the Soccer Field.

“Starting a new sport is not easy. It’s easy to judge, but it’s hard to see the effort that goes on behind the scenes — there’s so much dedication and effort that’s going into this team. I hope that when it comes down to it, people don’t just see a score.”