Soccer coach resigns after forfeits

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

After ending its 2014 season with barely enough players to field a regulation team, the 2015 Comet women’s soccer team scrubbed its season after failing to enlist enough players to compete in Bay Valley Conference play.

“I decided not to play because I didn’t want a repeat of last year,” sophomore defender Lizette Hurtado said. “I would have played, but I got a job instead when all of the girls started to leave.”

When men’s soccer coach Nikki Ferguson handed the reins over to his assistant Amanda Beckenhauer in 2014, there were 20 players slotted to play for the team. When the season began, only 10 women remained and the team hovered between playing short or forfeiting games for the entirety of that 1-11 season.

This year’s team, at a minimum, should have had the eight sophomores from last season to serve as its foundation. However, the loosely knit relationships Beckenhauer held with her players ultimately spelled the demise of her team and her tenure as coach.

After failing to field a team by the start of conference play last fall, Athletic Director John Wade accepted Beckenhauer’s resignation.

“It is a real disappointment. It drains you to lose a game, but it’s more draining if you can’t field a team to play,” Wade said. “Technically, they had enough players on the roster, but the commitment was not there with all of the players at the same time.”

Some players lost all faith in the coach in the locker room before its final game in 2015, which it forfeited, before eventually canceling the season.

Unbeknownst to the players, fewer players were available than were needed to play an official game at the home contest. The players who did show up got dressed and taped before being informed that the game would be canceled as they walked to the field.

Many of the players left the field that day with the impression that Beckenhauer knew the personnel circumstances 24 hours prior to the game, but kept the information to herself to stave off personal embarrassment.

“The coach (Beckenhauer) recruited me to play this year since I was on last year’s team,” sophomore defender ShaRonda Jones said. “At the time, there were not enough players committed for me to quit my job so I decided not to play.”

Ferguson restructured the women’s program before moving on to coach the men leaving behind a pool of nearly 20 athletes for Beckenhauer to choose from.

Speculation around the athletic department is that Ferguson will re-take the coaching duties for the women’s program while continuing to coach the men’s team, though no official announcement has been made by Wade as of yet.