The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Vaqueros men’s soccer team lacks local student athletes

The City College men’s soccer team has players from all over the world, with 15 players from the United States and 14 international students, with assistant coach Goffin Boyoko and head coach John Sisterson (not pictured), Thursday, Sept. 30, at La Playa Stadium in Santa Barbara, Calif. City College has had very few local players on the soccer team for the past three years, while before 2013 nearly one third of the team was from Santa Barbara County.

There are many reasons why the City College men’s soccer team lacks local student athletes, and talent isn’t one of them.

Of the three local public high schools, there are approximately 20-30 members of the soccer teams that graduate every year. Of those students, six to 10 go on to four-year universities. Several more leave the area for other community colleges.

One reason for the lack of local players is the local three time national championship Santa Barbara Soccer Club (SBSC). Matt York, Dos Pueblos High School soccer coach, and Rob Lauderdale, former San Marcos High School soccer coach, both explained that the kids are choosing to play for a national championship team instead of playing at the community college level. City College head soccer coach John Sisterson echoed the sentiment.

“[Santa Barbara Soccer Club] will poach players from the high schools,” Sisterson said. “Then they’ll go and play on the national theater.”

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The Santa Barbara soccer community has a winning history in the last five years. Dos Pueblos has gone to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship game once, and Santa Barbara High School has gone twice, winning in 2011.

Along with the high schools, the SBSC has won the national championship three years in a row, from 2012-2014. Four-year universities are regularly out watching the high schools and the SBSC players because they have such a winning history.

The local high schools are trying to push academics more than sports. At Dos Pueblos High School, student athletes are required to have a 2.5 GPA or higher instead of the Santa Barbara School District required 2.0 GPA or higher. Because of this, many local students are finding more opportunities to move on to a university.

“By their senior year, a lot of the guys that were planning of going soccer in the next level went in a different direction,” said York. “So I think it might just be a product of what we are pushing and what they want to do.”

One of the perceptions in the local soccer community is that there are so many foreign players that the local players won’t get a fair chance at City College. The last two years there have only been three local players on the roster.

However, the last three years have been unusually light in graduating seniors. In 2012 nearly a third of the City College players were local.

“This year we have a pretty heavy senior class,” said Santa Barbara High School soccer head coach Todd Heil. “I think they will be looking to want to play at the next level, and a few will be going to City College.”

Several of the foreign players pointed out that many foreign players don’t have an option between high school and a university. So many of them find community college as their best chance to continue playing soccer. York even pointed out that he has several international players on the Dos Pueblos soccer team.

“Last year we had 27 [international student athletes],” Sisterson said. “I made a conscious effort to cut back.”

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