The Santa Rosa Junior College men's soccer team traveled to Santa Cruz to play Cabrillo Community College for their opener of the 2015 season. The team left August 27th, a Thursday afternoon after practice. The trip started off on an unpleasant note after several key players arrived late. These players were unprepared and irresponsible, putting themselves before the team, forcing Coach Kinahan to alter the line up putting in players who had made it on time.
After a short training, the team began the trip down to Santa Cruz which took approximately three hours. Upon arriving in Santa Cruz the team headed directly to the Cabrillo campus to inspect the playing condition for the game the next day. The team noticed how narrow and long the field was; the soccer equivalent of a bowling alley. After seeing the field, the team headed to where they would be staying for the weekend, a large house with a spectacular view in a beautiful area of Santa Cruz. After settling in the house, a large dinner was prepared at a local restaurant where the team indulged in pasta, salad, and bread the evening before the match. When dinner was finished the team headed to a nearby Safeway to grocery shop for the weekend meals. Later that evening, the team got to watch one of Coach Kinahan's favorite sports film, McFarland USA, which gave the team some good laughs, but also reminded everyone about the value of a hard work ethic.
The next day was game day. Everyone awoke anxious for the first game of the season. The team went on a morning walk, then came back to stretch and kick the ball around to start mentally preparing for the match. After having a hearty breakfast, they headed down to Cabrillo for the game. The warm up was good, but many players were nervous for the first game of the season and some for their first collegiate game ever. Before the game started the team gathered where Coach Kinahan gave his pregame speech and prayer for safety. The team was huddled around "the lunchbox," which is the iconic symbol for SRJC Men's soccer team's work ethic on and off the field. The beginning of the match started off poorly. Nobody was sharp and Cabrillo put a goal away within the first five minutes of the match, putting everyone on their heels. Chances were generated on both sides, but our team could not seem to put away a goal to get us back in the match. A much better start to the second half, but Cabrillo quickly countered and a man left unmarked at the top of the box had a wide open shot on goal to add on another devastating goal. After the game many players did not take the loss lightly. The trip to get lunch was very quiet and unpleasant. Upon arrival back to the house, the team came together to talk about their mistakes and the change they needed to establish in order to fulfill our expectation for the season.
Later that day everyone was divided into three teams and to play small games Coach Kinahan had made up. This resulted in smiles and good team bonding even after a loss. Coach cooked the entire team burgers that night. Everyone had more than their fill, including one of the forwards, Sam Richter, who made an enormous burger that would be a challenge to finish. After another team walk the next day, everyone came back to enjoy the classic great breakfast of sausage, bacon, toast, and eggs prepared by Coach, Richter, and the redshirts. When breakfast was over, the team came together and came up with team rules and goals for the season.
The Boardwalk had to be visited since everyone was already in Santa Cruz. The team enjoyed a beautiful day out there on the beach and some great team bonding was done. The trip was full of good experiences, despite the loss, but most importantly the team came together over the weekend strengthening our chemistry, confidence, and trust in one another.