Soccer Struggles after Coach, Players Dismissed

Gracie Woidat and Jessica Rosiak

The boys’ varsity soccer team, which has weathered the dismissal of its coach and several players in the aftermath of an early-season hazing incident that prompted an investigation by administrators and local police, has struggled to meet the performance expectations the squad originally set for itself leading into the winter sport season.

According to a member of the varsity team, all team activities were initially suspended beginning November 12 due to an “initiation” type activity reported to administrators. Following the initial investigation, 9 returning players and Coach Miguel Camancho were suspended indefinitely.

A police investigation of the incident is ongoing.

According to senior Christian Markey, the 9 suspended players will not be “allowed back on the team until they tell them more about the situation.”  He said that the administration believes the suspended players who were interviewed about the incident did not provide accurate explanations, and as a result, these players have not been reinstated.

“They’re really trying to pin us for something that didn’t happen,” said Markey. 

The Campolindo administration declined to comment on the incident or the investigation.

Markey insisted that the suspensions were not an appropriate response. “We were all Scholastic NCS champions. Last year, we had the best grades of any soccer team in NCS. A lot of the guys have never even met Mr. Drury before,” said Markey. “It’s good that Mr. Walker’s looking out for the safety of the players. However, I do feel like he’s overreacting.”

Only non-returning athletes and returners who were not present during the alleged hazing have since been allowed to resume the winter soccer season. Senior Beck Chambers said that the experience has been “very emotional” and the absence of teammates is “very apparent.”

According to junior Nathan Pearce, the suspension of players affected morale as well as shortened the depth of the bench. “Especially, like it was super hard to play when these guys that put everything into the season, like organized pickups, all this stuff, they’re not practicing with us,” said Pearce.

Pearce admits that the strong bonds between teammates has made the situation particularly emotional. “Why should they be banned and I’m not?” he asked.  

The varsity coach position is now being filled by the junior-varsity and freshman team coaches.

“We already had a really big roster so we didn’t need to call up a ton of new players but we did call up a few players from JV,” said senior Nico Lewis.

According to Lewis, 8 of the 9 players suspended were part of the team’s usual starting lineup.

Since returning from the team suspension on December 10, the squad, which was runner-up in the North Coast Section (NCS) title game last year, has only managed a record of 1-4.

“We’ve seen after a few games that our depth is absolutely just gone. We only have 15 [players], and some people are injured now,” added Chambers. “We need to keep practicing and playing more consistently. Everyone still wants to really work and there’s still plenty of talent, but the depth is just currently not there.” 

According to Chambers, the team’s morale was “at the low point, and now we’re building up.” 

In spite of the turmoil, some players insist they remain united with those who have not been reinstated. “You gotta treat us as a team,” said Pearce. “This is a team with every single player that was banned or suspended, whether or not they like it, or whether or not they’re gonna accept it, this team is gonna stand together with every single person.”