In the middle of May, everyone is done with finals at last. This is the time when CSUN students begin planning summer getaways, that perfect tan, or how late to sleep in everyday.
Those plans are the last thing on the minds of Chad Borak, Sean Franklin, Sunghyun Kim, Robert Pate, Camilo Rojas, Moy Gomez and Kevin Guppy. These Matador soccer players are thinking about their future profession and how to stay in shape and on top of their game during the summer months.
The next question would be how to achieve this goal and stay on a schedule. To these aspiring Matadors, it’s a no-brainer: join the Premier Development League. All of the players have been playing organized soccer since as far back as they can remember, so it just comes naturally to them to play the sport year- round.
For all but Gomez, this means playing for the San Fernando Valley Quakes. Gomez played for the Bakersfield Brigade.
Pate, 20, said he enjoys the sport because it’s international and “it’s everyone’s game.”
A senior defender for the CSUN men’s soccer team and a member of the Quakes, Pate has been playing for about 12 years and said he’d like to play soccer professionally. The other young men agreed with Pate.
The Matador soccer players are also in the process of earning their degrees, ranging from such subjects as criminal justice to interior design. One player said they’re getting their degrees because they want to have a career after soccer “since we can’t play past age 34 or 35.”
The San Fernando Valley Quakes are a club in the Premier Development League and part of “the top men’s minor league in North America,” stated www.quakesoccer.com. The PDL has a total of 63 teams, divided into four conferences with two divisions in each conference. The teams play 16 games in total during the regular season, which consists of eight home and eight away games. The Web site also shows that the players have the ability to play during the summer to maintain college eligibility.
The Quakes made it to the playoffs in the Western Conference this year, the first time in the club’s short two-year history. Unfortunately, their playoff run ended early, in a 2-0 loss in Fresno to the Northwest Division champions, the BYU Cougars.
There may have been scouts at some of the soccer games and even at the playoff game they participated in, said Franklin, 22. Franklin has been playing soccer for about 12 years and is a senior at CSUN.
Franklin, playing midfield for the Quakes, racked up several honors for his play, starting with “Player of the Week” honors during the season. Franklin later was named to the PDL All-League Team and the All-Conference Team.
Franklin’s teammate at CSUN and on the Quakes, Borak also played on the same varsity team with Franklin at Highland High School. Borak said he was proud of making it to the playoffs, but it was difficult playing in 105-degree weather at Fresno.
Borak, who plays defense for the Quakes and for CSUN, also said the Quakes had a lot of opportunities to score against BYU in the playoffs.
Pate, who plays center back for both the Quakes and CSUN, said that their “offense could have been more dynamic.”
The players found it much easier being on the Quakes as opposed to playing at CSUN because they had only two practices a week and “less stuff to look after,” Pate said.
During the school year, the team has to concentrate on school and practice almost everyday.
Even though the club soccer team only played in the summer and traveled as far as San Francisco to play, they still had a very strong fan base and always had a sizeable crowd cheering them on.
Pate said it’s more fun to play in front of a large crowd and the other guys agreed. He went on to explain that a good showing of people shows support and it helps their playing improve.
All of the CSUN/Quakes players agreed they needed more people to come to their games. While some people would rather not play in front of anyone, these young men want to play in front of full stadiums. They have a lot of support while playing on the Quakes, but when it comes to playing at CSUN, the fan support is lacking. The aspiring soccer players want students to attend their games to cheer them on and help them win.
“Bring an umbrella and water and you’ll be fine,” Pate said.
Franklin said fans should also bring sunglasses and sunblock.
The men’s soccer team returns to Matador Soccer Field on Sept. 20 to play New Mexico at 4:00 p.m.
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