In a time of confusion and uncertainty, the Boise State men’s and women’s club soccer teams unexpectedly closed their seasons the only way they knew how: on the field.
In reaction to the first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ada County on March 14, both club soccer teams’ seasons were cancelled for the rest of the semester. The decision came in accordance with Campus Recreation’s decision to cancel all programs.
As a farewell, both teams came together for a scrimmage. Instead of a “men versus women” format, they formed co-ed teams and played alongside each other.
The result: a light-hearted goodbye to the competition.
After a game full of jokes, the “green” team left Lincoln Turf Field victorious, boasting a score of 10-8 against their peers.
Men’s club soccer head coach Nick Lehning was proud to see his athletes interact with the women’s team and hoped the game helped the teams find closure in the face of unfortunate circumstances.
“It was good to get on the field one more time,” Lehning said. “We’ve started to build a decent relationship between the girls’ program and ours, so to close that out for the rest of the year was solid.”
Two days before the scrimmage, Lehning spoke to his team and delivered the news of their season’s end. He not only spoke to them as a coach, but he also shared his unique perspective as a microbiology professor.
“As a microbiology teacher, I understand why this is dangerous and why it’s important for us to take the necessary precautions,” Lehning said. “Obviously the guys are bummed out, but the right thing has to happen and I think that’s what we’re doing.”
Both club soccer teams had gone undefeated in their seasons thus far and had much to look forward to in the coming months.
The men’s team just reached their fundraising goal for the West Coast Soccer Association (WCSA) Showcase Tournament that was set for the end of the season. Now that the event has been canceled, Lehning plans to use the funds toward a spot in the WCSA national tournament in the upcoming fall.
While Lehning is looking forward, some of the athletes are still processing the news.
Noah Hastings was upset with the season’s sudden end but aims to combat the negativity with an appreciation for the part of the season that he did get to enjoy.
“I’m a little saddened, a little disappointed that we won’t be able to finish the season, but it was fun while it lasted,” Hastings said.
Katie Lopez, a member of the women’s club team, was hoping to ride the momentum of an undefeated record into a successful spring, but now lacks the opportunity to do so.
“We thought we were gonna keep going and make our team stronger, but now that it’s ending we’re going to have to rebuild next semester,” Lopez said.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the timing of their return, the teams will prepare for the fall season remotely. The athletes will follow exercise and nutrition plans that will keep them in shape during their time away.
On top of the assigned regimes, Lopez intends to make the most of the break by scrimmaging with her friends from home. In an effort to move on, she looks for silver linings and predicts the team will be positively impacted by the distance.
“I envision us being apart is going to make us stronger because, when we get back together, we’re going to want to keep this stamina and come out and play like we did before,” Lopez said.