As you may already know there will be no sports for the Little East Conference this semester due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, that includes the University of Massachusetts Boston. So, since there will not be any sports played this semester, why not check in with some of the teams that won’t have the opportunity to play. This week we're going to check in with our men’s soccer team.
First off let’s take a look at how UMass Boston men’s soccer fared a season ago. Last fall, UMass Boston finished with a 12–3–4 record and unfortunately lost in penalty kicks to Western Connecticut State University in the LEC quarterfinals. Despite the early exit, the Beacons showed a lot of promise last season and it is disappointing that they won’t have the opportunity to build on that this Fall.
Now let’s check in and see what they’re up to now.
I talked to Gerardo Castaneda, who is a midfielder for the Beacons, about what this time has been like for him and his team. “Very difficult, after gaining our confidence and chemistry in the 2019 season we were all anxious to get back on the field as a team and show how we could’ve had a tremendous 2020 season. After not reaching our objective goal last season we were itching to prove what we were capable of.” Castaneda and his teammates truly felt that they had something to prove this fall and it is upsetting that they won’t get that chance as of right now.
When it comes to practice, I was told that there could be nothing organized by the team so the players have been forced to train separate from one another. “Of course, training alone is not the most fun but remaining fit, staying sharp with the ball on our feet, and having a relentless mentality will keep us prepared to compete hard next season,” Castaneda said while expressing his opinion on training separate from the team.
When it comes to some of the training Castaneda does to remain fit to play, he makes sure to maintain a busy practice schedule for himself. Castaneda went on to say, “typically my training consists of endurance exercises including shuttle sprints or long distance jogs. I include a soccer ball through shuttle runs at times to maintain my confidence with the ball at my feet. Although I believe that the prevention of injury is important to maintain a focus on, so I have flexibility training sessions to keep my muscles and joints more elastic”. It is clear to see that Castaneda takes his training seriously and is constantly working to improve.
Lastly, when asked about his thoughts on not having a season this fall, Castaneda was not shy on his opinion on whether or not the LEC made the right decision. “As much as I wanted to have a season, I believe it was the correct decision to put safety first avoiding the consequences we could have faced throughout the season. The outbreak would’ve required a lot of work to get the season underway. A prime example would’ve been, being constantly temperature checked, no contact, and or wearing a mask while playing the sport which does not add up to me making it not worth it.” So, although it is tough for some of the players to have to go a season without playing the sport they love, Castaneda is an example of someone who truly believes that the safety of the players should come first.
Sports is such a huge part of the culture here at UMass Boston, so it is upsetting that we won’t be able to enjoy those sports this semester. Hopefully we can see a restart for sports in the spring semester and hopefully we can check in with more teams before the end of this semester.