by jamesc 7/14/2014 3:26:09 PM --
SOUTH SIOUX CITY - While the focus of the world of late was on the futbol fields of Brazil, there is a group of young men on a much smaller level who have as much heart and determination than the professionals who pursued World Cup glory. Every Sunday, this fledging team heads to the fields of South Sioux City proudly wearing the red and black of Northeast Community College to achieve victory in the sport commonly known by American standards as soccer.
I’m very pleased the soccer club has become a reality at Northeast,” said team member Isaac Ramirez. “We try to represent the College in a positive way.”
The Northeast Community College Soccer Club at South Sioux City was formed this past spring, according to Ramirez, of Wakefield, who also serves as president of Enactus, a student business club at the College. “Enactus conducted a survey of the students here and asked them what activities they would like to see offered. Soccer was the number one most requested activity. We have a lot of students who enjoy the game and who have played in the local league in the past.”
Jim Scholten, Northeast student support coordinator and soccer club advisor, said once they heard of the large interest in starting a club soccer team, they brainstormed to see how they could make it work. “Since we have dual affiliation with both Northeast and Wayne State College at the College Center, we wondered how that may impact the club. So we proposed that any student going to school at Northeast here in South Sioux City and Norfolk, or Wayne State would be eligible.”
Scholten said they have set parameters for being members of the team. “They must be a current student or a student who made their intentions known that they would enroll at Northeast or Wayne State this fall after completing summer registration. We have also opened it up to high school students who are taking dual credit classes from Northeast. One of the students, Luis Vargas who will be a junior this fall at South Sioux City High School, completed a dual credit Northeast class last year, qualifying him to be on the team.”
There are 19 players on the squad that are made up of present Northeast and Wayne State College students as well as incoming students.
Scholten said the sport is not new to any of the players. “Some of them have past competitive experience. Chris Matias, Juan Magana and Victor Magana played soccer for Briar Cliff University in Sioux City (IA), some played on the South Sioux City High School team, while others have played recreational soccer.”
When Northeast was looking for someone to volunteer to coach the team, one name in particular came up - Abel Delgadillo. He is considered a “legend” in the South Sioux City Soccer League and is the father of Bryan Delgadillo, Northeast Soccer Club president and player.
“The people in this league revere him,” Scholten said. “I have been so pleased because he has such good values. I see him emphasizing sportsmanship. During a practice game with another team, things got a little aggressive on the field. However, Abel kept his team in control. He understands the sport in many ways.”
Delgadillo said, “Many teams in this league have been together for many years. Only a few of our players have ever played together, so we have to work hard in our practices to make up for being a new team in an experienced league.”
He said another change for his players is that the league is much more physical than what they have been accustomed to. “This league, with many older players, is much more physical than our players have experienced on their high school and recreational teams.”
Delgadillo said if his team keeps working hard the rest of the season like they have been, they have a good chance to have some success later in the summer. “I feel our conditioning and teamwork will pay off for us in the second half of the season."
The Northeast Community College Soccer Club plays in the South Sioux City Soccer League. “Since we are not an intercollegiate team, we had to find a local league so we didn’t have to travel far to play matches,” Scholten said. “South Sioux City is perfect since it is a soccer town. We spoke with a gentleman with the league and he said they would love to have us.”
Presently, 15 teams are in the league with each playing 14 matches through the entire summer. Matches are played on Sundays only from May to September at the Dible Soccer Complex, which is owned by the City of South Sioux City. It has multiple fields which allows for the possibility of over at least a dozen games playing at the same time.
Scholten, who was baseball coach at Morningside College in Sioux City for a number of years, stays in contact with friends there. “Morningside’s soccer coach wants us to join their summer league next year. I told him that I am flattered to be invited, but I want to make sure that we can compete since they have scholarships players who attend there.”
The Morningside coach told Scholten that he was familiar with a few of the Northeast players through the recruiting process - and some could have played for him. The Morningside league features Briar Cliff University and a number of area high schools, which includes players who are probably closer in age with members of the Northeast team.
It also includes seven-on-seven rather than eleven-on-eleven matches, which allows for more development opportunities for each player in handling the ball.
Scholten said in addition to the Sunday games, the team practices twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Finding a place to practice has been one of the team’s biggest challenges. “We thought we could practice at the complex, but that would have been too expensive because of the associated fees. We may use some of the ground at the College Center next year for a practice area.”
Scholten said they did some fundraising and solicited businesses to assist with equipment, uniforms and league fees. The team’s two main sponsors are Gill Hauling of Jackson and Pepsi Cola of Siouxland. Hy-Vee, Gomez Pallets, and Absolute Screen Arts are additional sponsors.
Players on the Northeast soccer team see the importance of the sport in association with attending classes. Omar Hermosillo, of South Sioux City, said, “I knew I wanted to attend college at some point, but I had been putting off a decision. I have signed up to take classes at Northeast this fall.”
“I’m a criminal justice student and I have really enjoyed being on the first soccer team at Northeast,” said Jimmy Sedivy, of South Sioux City. “The other players on the team are good guys and our coach is great! I’m thankful the soccer club was started.”
Delgadillo said, “I am thankful that Northeast Community College has made this opportunity available for these boys. It is good for our players to have a soccer team to play together. I have had so many positive experiences playing in this league in past years; I hope these players have a good experience, too."
There are four intercollegiate sports at Northeast Community College’s main campus in Norfolk – men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s golf. This is the first club sport at any of its extended campuses.
“We are pleased to offer another opportunity for our students to be engaged outside the classroom, said Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. “When the survey from the Enactus Club came back, we knew we wanted to make the student’s wishes a reality. I was pleased to see the impetus of this project was student driven.”
Chipps said research shows that students who make connections at college not only enhance their academic experiences, but are more likely to be retained and to graduate. “In addition, growing enrollments at Northeast is essential to our future success, and this is a wonderful way to benefit all concerned at the same time; the students, area communities, and the college. Club soccer will not only assist in growing our enrollment, but it will also correspondingly provide more activities and opportunities for our students on and off the field.”
The Northeast Soccer Club is getting noticed. “People do attend our games each Sunday,” Scholten said. “And the first week we posted information and photos on Facebook, there were nearly 1,100 hits following the first game, so the interest is there.”
Scholten said he wants team members to have lasting memories from this time in their lives. “My hope is that this enhances their college experience. One thing I would like to do to assist with that is to hold a game in the fall or spring and make it a college-wide event. I think that would be fun for not only the crowd, but for the players too.”
Scholten said Abel Delgadillo’s leadership is at the core of the excitement over the team. “I always thank him for his time, but he says, ‘No, thank you for providing an opportunity for these kids.”
The Northeast Community College Soccer Club is presently 1-2 – picking up its first victory over River Plate with a 4-2 win. The team’s next match is this Sunday, July 20, at 10 a.m. against Guanajuato on Field # 4 at the Dible Soccer Complex.
Members of the Northeast Community College Soccer Club include (first row, from left) Saul Reyes-Nunez, Irving Ramirez, Carlos Flores, Isaac Ramirez, Eduardo Martinez, Eddie Deleon, and Luis Vargas. (Back row, from left) Abel Delgadillo, coach, Alex Hermosillo, Christian Cardona, Victor Magana, Alfonso Quezada, Ruben Vargas, Bryan Delgadillo, Cristian Nuno, and Jimmy Sedivy. Not pictured Omar Hermosillo, Chris Matias, and Juan Magana.