A pair of student-athletes on the 2014 men’s soccer team at Contra Costa College, have garnered the attention of coaches from four-year universities.
Comet coach Nikki Ferguson said he was contacted by soccer coaches from various out-of-state and local universities in search of filling center back positions.
Ferguson said he referred sophomore center backs Charlie Mendoza and Bradley Alman as the top defensive players of the 2014 season.
He said between them, only Mendoza committed to a $20,000 partial scholarship offer from Southwestern College, in Winfield, Kansas on Feb. 5.
Mendoza, a business management and communications double major, said he plans to be enrolled in classes at in Kansas for the start of the fall semester.
He said he was convinced after he visited the campus on Jan 17.
Southwestern College soccer coach Joseph Yeisley said, “He was allowed to stay in the dorms on campus and experience four days out here with us and got a good idea of what Kansas is about. It’s different than California but (Southwestern) offers him the ability to get away from all the distractions, and really focus on academics and play the game he loves.”
Mendoza said he traveled with a couple of other prospective student-athletes from Merritt College to tour the campus and train with the soccer team. “It was exciting to get to meet so many new personalities.”
After watching Mendoza practice with the Moundbuilders, the coaching staff was pleased with recruiting the young defensive player.
“(Mendoza) is a hard worker and what he lacks in natural size and ability he makes up for with his work rate and aggressive style of play,” Yeisley said. “He goes out and gives everything he’s got. (Mendoza) is going to be instrumental part of our backline this upcoming season.”
He is the younger of his Salvadorian parents’ two children. He said while his father is supportive of his decision to move out-of-state to pursue an education, and play the sport he loves, his mother doesn’t want him to move far away.
“I’m going to pay for everything else so (my parents) don’t have to so (my mom) is happy about that.”
In early December, Yeisly traveled from Kansas to CCC to meet Mendoza and Ferguson in the Gym Annex Building.
“The first time we met I could tell (Mendoza) was nervous,” Yeisley said, “I could tell he is new to this process, but after speaking with him about what we could offer him he seemed relaxed.”
Mendoza said the only reason he was nervous was because he never expected to be contacted by a soccer scout, let alone be offered free money for school.
“I always thought I would go to a four-year (university) but not with a scholarship,” he said. “And after graduating from (Pinole Valley High School) I stopped playing soccer for a while. I took a two-year break to focus on school, family and work.”
While Mendoza’s future seems planned, Alman is still weighing his options after being contacted by coaches from UC Davis, Cal State-East Bay, and Cal State- Monterey Bay, among a dozen others.
Alman was selected to the All-Bay Valley Conference First Team and won Defensive Player of the Year honors last fall.
He said while the attention from coaches is nice, he is going to wait until next year to see if he can get into the college of his choice, which is Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Ferguson said, “(The universities) didn’t fit the bill. There were other coaches interested during the sophomore showcase game, but he is waiting for Cal Poly.”