Season ends unceremoniously

Unforseen issues ruin chance to atone for last year

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The 2015 season officially ended five weeks after it started for the 0-3 Comet women’s soccer team as a result of fielding too few players and canceling its first five non-conference games.

Contra Costa College Athletic Director John Wade notified the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) and Bay Valley Conference (BVC) Commissioner Shirley Baskin on Friday via email that the team would forfeit the remainder of the season and hoped to find eligibility options for the dissolved team’s players.

Comet coach Amanda Beckenhauer was unable to sustain a complete roster of 11 players in any match this season. A team that cannot field seven players for a match must forfeit, according to rules set by the international soccer governing body Federation Internainale de Football (FIFA) and adopted by the CCCAA.

CCC canceled its first five non-conference games, which were scheduled to begin Aug. 27, hoping to add more players while bringing a team of loose ends together before reaching the BVC portion of its schedule. The Comets played against three BVC teams, but played only one full game, a 10-0 loss at Mendocino College on Sept. 29.

In the email sent to Baskin and the CCCAA Director of Membership Services Jennifer Carodine, Wade listed “unforeseen” circumstances and a “poor” level of commitment from players as to why the squad was forced to forfeit the season.

For some players and coaches, the announcement came as a shock. But it was expected by others who saw the prospect of forfeiting the season come closer to fruition.

“It’s really unfortunate. The biggest disappointment is that they don’t get to play,” Beckenhauer said. “Since the beginning of the season, we have had at least 16 (players) come through the program, but I can’t make them stay. I just want to make sure the ones that did stay get to keep their eligibility.”

Wade wrote in his letter to the BVC commissioner that Comet players dealt with a number of life issues that undermined the foundation of what it takes to be a team. Players became guardians of children, suffered injuries or couldn’t balance their commitment to work and the team, he said.

Attached to the email from Wade was a Form 6, the official notification that effectively dissolves the team from competition this season. If sent early enough in the season, it retains players’ eligibility to return to play next season without their participation this season counting against their years of eligibility.

Athletic directors are able to petition for the players to keep their current eligibility if the team does not attempt to play deep into conference play. Wade said he plans to push for the players to keep their status to return and play next year if recruitment goes well.

CCC Interim President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said, “It’s just sad and disappointing that it had to come to this.”

Meanwhile, Wade said he fielded ideas from the commissioner, representatives of women’s soccer teams in the BVC and Mehdizadeh about finding a solution to the impending problem.

He said after failing to come to any solution, however, suspending the season became the only logical outcome.

Comet defender Mary Sanchez said she is disappointed the season is over.

“Some of us were committed and really wanted to play,” Sanchez said. “I’m still going to come to practice. It just sucks that there are going to be no games.”

Wade said that he had looked into the possibility of recruiting players from the volleyball team to also play for the women’s soccer team. Other women’s programs at CCC, however, are also struggling to fill their ranks this season.

“I hope that some of the (soccer players) would come over to the volleyball team,” Comet volleyball coach Christy Tianero said.

Beckenhauer said she suggested her players try volleyball, which also plays in the fall sports season. While some are poised to make the switch, others like Sanchez said they are not totally sold on the idea.

“I may go,” she said. “But I’m not sure my heart will be in (volleyball).”

Players from the women’s soccer team were unable to reach Tianero Friday after hearing the news of the season’s cancellation because of the volleyball team’s match that day at Laney College.