Players stay focused on the current season, but the future is uncertain
The Kwantlen Eagles did not exactly have a smooth start to the season. With the announcement of funding cuts for varsity sports and the subsequent withdrawal from PACWEST, players and coaches alike were left confused and upset. Despite these announcements, however, both the men and women’s soccer teams have not let their season be affected.
Women’s defender Jessica Anderegg has been part of the team for four years and feels everyone in the athletics department has been working hard to make this season run as smoothly as possible.
“This season they’re doing their best to make sure nothing has changed,” says Anderegg. “Although, it was a little bit confusing in the beginning what was going to happen. It was a little unorganized, not having an athletic director or a media coordinator.”
Frustrations and confusion aside, the dedication and positive attitude from the teams is clear when standing on the sidelines.
“We’re playing with our heart now and playing not only for our school, but for ourselves now. Just to prove to [the administration] that it was a mistake for cutting,” notes defender Samantha Savoy.
“It’s really unfair what happened, but we’re still representing the school, we’re still ambassadors for the school.”
Men’s player Nawaf Binsaleh feels Kwantlen’s administration could have handled the situation differently and worked with the athletics department more. “We wanted [the program] to continue and not be terminated without any previous notice. At least, if they had given us previous notice, we could have talked about it in meetings before they made any decisions,” he explains.
Binsaleh also noted the budget cuts have slightly affected the current season, as they are “lacking the trainers and physio for the team.”
Srdjan Djekanovic, head coach for the men’s team, knows his players work hard for each other and are excited to play each game, and that they’re still focused on winning.
“These guys came for a program and they turned down some pretty big schools to come to Kwantlen for academics and the soccer program. They are here, they are committed, and we’re just looking at it as a game at a time.”
Coach Djekanovic believes student athletes who may have not originally considered Kwantlen for post-secondary education came to be involved in the soccer program and academics. “It works both ways. It is something that the admissions office needs to recognize as well. Our success is Kwantlen’s success.”
Anderegg is worried about other clubs and student groups around Kwantlen campuses and wants more students to be aware of what is going on.
“We’re here to support other groups if they need us as well. Kwantlen’s cutting us because there are only 90 of us. What program are they going to cut next? If we can reach out to other student clubs or organizations just to raise awareness, it kind of feels like no one is safe right now if they’re going to cut people and think it is okay.”
At the end of this season, scholarships will still be honoured and graduating students will be celebrated at Graduating Seniors Day, as per Eagles tradition.
When asked about next year, Anderegg clarified: “We have high hopes for next year, but we don’t really know what is going to happen there.”