By: Ben Abrams
The National Junior College Ath- letic Association (NJCAA) devastated the Men’s soccer team at Georgia Perimeter College by penalizing them with a postseason ban for the 2014 season.
According to NJCAA Assistant Executive Director Mark Krug, the punishment was issued to the team as part of their probation for the 2014 season.
In a conversation with sophomore defender, Alejandro Mendoza (#15) the news of the probation and the penalty were confirmed.
According to Mendoza, the sanctions occurred because some of the players on the team the previous year received improper compensation for their play time on the team.
Mendoza also confirmed that Head Coach Marc Zagara and Athletic Director Alfred Barney are fully aware of the sanctions at this time.
“Coach Z was the one who told us,” Mendoza said. “We had a team meeting with Coach Barney, and he said there’s nothing we could do about it since they applied for an appeal but the NJCAA didn’t care.”
The sanctions deliver a catastrophic blow to the soccer team in multiple ways. The team started the season ranked number six in the NJCAA Top-20 poll for Division I soccer.
When the penalty was issued, the team was 9-0 in the regular season and 2-0 in Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association conference play.
Not only is the team’s hard work and success irrelevant for the season, but the sophomores on the team will miss the opportunity to improve their futures with the chance of a national spotlight.
“This is really bad for the sophomores including myself because we are missing the opportunity to get looked at by (NCAA) Division I and professional coaches,” Mendoza remarked with a dejected spirit. “The whole team is really upset about this.”
The futures of five sophomores on the team are in limbo at this moment leaving some of them in a state of panic, because they have to search for a second option.
This is not the case for all of the sophomores, because some of them do have a backup plan to fall back on like midfielder Brandon Garcia (#9).
“My plan for right now is for coaches from other colleges to see me.” Garcia said. “Right now I have this injury that doesn’t let me play well, so I’ll have to wait for the second semester for other colleges like Georgia State University to announce their open try-outs and see if I can make a team.”
With the hard work that is needed to prepare the basketball team for conditioning and the soccer team for their game against Broward College, Coach Barney and Coach Zagara were unavailable for comments at this time.
With the sanctions now a part of the season, both of these men will now have to move forward and restore the reputation of the school’s soccer program.
But at the same time, they must learn how to recreate a bright future for the Jaguars for the years following this scandal.