Soccer team speaks up about its situation in pandemic

By Miguel Dominguez

East Los Angeles College athletic director Bobby Godinez, as well as other athletics directors from other colleges, have been meeting with the district to discuss how sports can return safely for fall, said Office Assistant/Sports Information Cerwin Haynes.

“Too many unknowns right now,” said soccer head coach Eddie Flores, “about when they can officially use equipment, if players are going to be committed to the team and don’t know when the season will start.”

The district gave permission for athletes to return to campus to do outdoor conditioning which started April 12. Athletes cannot use any equipment or a soccer ball while conditioning as part of the protocols. 

They are hopeful that they can practice soon with equipment said Haynes.

May 3 will be the first time ELAC soccer team will be practicing with equipment, including soccer balls if they sanitize the equipment.  

ELAC’s protocols are to get their temperature checked before being able to condition. 

After they are cleared, they wear a green wristband which indicates to the coaches they were cleared by the athletic trainer. 

“They cannot step on the field or go inside the stadium if they do not have green wristbands,” said soccer assistant coach Ramon Rivas.

Both assistant coaches, Gilberto Sandoval, and Rivas, have been working with the ELAC soccer team every Monday and Wednesday in getting the players in shape by doing pace and timed runs.

Each coach takes 10 players each and shares half the field while conditioning their players as part of the protocols. 

The team is required to wear a mask while conditioning which makes it hard to breath while running said ELAC midfielder, Bryan Hernandez.

Most of the athletes were not physically training or practicing in 2020 which led to some players to being of shape. 

“I’m glad we’re doing conditioning because I need it,” said defender Edwardo Alvarez.

Others were able to play in other clubs to stay in shape. 

ELAC players can play in other clubs if they don’t wear uniforms or equipment that represent ELAC said Rivas. 

“It sucks” said Alvarez for not being able to play in 2020 due to COVID. 

There is still no word of when the regular season will start. 

Haynes is also hopeful that all fall sports will have regular length seasons. 

Professional sports like Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer were given reduced games when their 2020 season started if they followed protocols. 

Flores is currently trying to get international players who are interested in playing for the team. 

With the pandemic going on, it is hard trying to convince their parents to send them to ELAC. 

They don’t want to pay a lot of money for online classes, which they can do at home, and only have them show up to campus for soccer, Flores said. 

“Difficult to keep players motivated,” said Rivas about trying to keep athletes committed to school. “Many have other priorities to take care of and don’t see soccer as one of them,” Rivas said.

Coach Flores does not know if most of his players will stay on the team because it is hard for them to stay in school.

 “A lot of guys have jobs now,” Flores said. 

Some players must support their family and others get carried away with the money, Flores said.

There will be an opening camp for anyone who is interested in trying out for the team. “Bring your equipment show up July 7,” said Flores. “Players who are interested can follow our Instagram or Facebook page. They can also go on the ELAC athletics website for more information.”

The Huskies first preseason game is scheduled for August 27 against Santa Ana. 

The Huskies will still have to wait for the district to confirm when the regular season can start.

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