CSUN athletes and coaches adjust to delayed fall season


The Sundial file photo

Fall athletics has been postponed until at least the calendar year, leaving athletes to adapt.

Mano Baghjajian, Assistant Sports Editor

The foundation of an athlete is structure and when that structure is taken away, it can cause one to become lost and struggle with the new challenges that they are facing. With the world changing all around us due to COVID-19, college athletes had their routines and structured life turned upside down.

The Big West Conference made the decision on July 29 to postpone all fall sports until the end of the calendar year. This comes as a result of growing concern due to the increased spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States.

“Originally we all felt like we were going to get through this pretty quickly,” said Kieth West, the head coach of CSUN women’s soccer. “As (the pandemic) went along, I could see that it was wearing on our team and our individuals.”

Women’s soccer was among the teams whose seasons were delayed, along with men’s soccer, women’s volleyball and cross country.

“The players were expecting it,” said CSUN men’s soccer head coach Terry Davila. “They all want to play, but their health and safety and safety of others are very important to them.”

Teams have not been together since the stay-at-home order began in March, so coaches had to adjust the way they managed their teams and trust their players to work out on their own.

Athletes are being trusted by the coaching staff to individually conduct drills and workouts, and stay in shape. If the season is allowed to be played in the spring, the athletes are expected to be ready to compete.

“Right now is a time that you need to focus on yourself and be a student of the game,” said senior soccer player, Danny Trejo. “I have training every day so I know what I need to be working on. I’m just trying to stay ready.”

They have not been completely on their own. Coaches have organized weekly team meetings with players in order to stay in touch with their players, but also to keep the team together during this time of social distancing.

“When you start to break the pattern it becomes hard on anybody, whether if you’re a student or an athlete,” West said.

College athletes have felt the stress of this situation wear them down. Coaches have described the lower than usual moral amongst the team due to the lack of certainty revolving around their seasons.

CSUN Athletics has yet to give word to the coaches on the possibility of team practices returning, leaving the teams in the position of training on their own for the foreseeable future.

“No one knows how to stop and control this virus,” Davila said. “It was hard to get a season up and going under these circumstances.”

With fall sports in conferences all over the country being delayed, morale for the players is low. However, there is still confidence amongst the players that their seasons will resume come spring, even though the Big West has yet to confirm if that will be the case.

“There is still some time until January comes,” Trejo said. “However, I think there is a big chance we will be able to start playing come spring.”

That optimism is there among athletic personnel, but that does not change the message of safety and caution that the teams and athletic administration have been spreading.

“That’s the one thing I respect and appreciate about our leadership,” West said. “Their number one priority is the safety of everyone that is involved.”