Cambrian: Sports

Two soccer players respond to Coast Union girls coach’s critiques

Fabby Gonzales tries to move the ball past a defender this season.
Fabby Gonzales tries to move the ball past a defender this season.

Senior soccer players Cynthia Cadena and Fabby Gonzales were disappointed in the comments their coach, Victoria McConnell made in reference to why this past season went so poorly. The two Coast Union seniors reached out to The Cambrian and agreed to an interview at a sandwich shop in the West Village on Sunday, Feb. 19, to air their thoughts about their final high school soccer experience.

McConnell was quoted in the Feb. 9 Cambrian, saying that at some point midway through the season, “Our team stopped playing as a team, and began to play as individuals. I don’t know if the girls lost faith in each other, or in me.

“They were not a united team,” McConnell said in an email interview in the Feb. 9 Cambrian. “They were apathetic. They didn’t care to win.”

Gonzales said, “I didn’t play as an individual. How can you play as an individual when you have 10 other people on the field? And we didn’t lose faith in each other. The coach really wasn’t committed to practices, and she apparently didn’t realize that we needed practices until it was too late.

“We wanted our last year of soccer to end on a good note,” Gonzales continued. “We tried as hard as we could. But we had a coach who stands on the sidelines and only yells at us on the bad things we do.”

Cadena said McConnell’s coaching style didn’t reflect enough commitment to discipline.

“If the coach is committed to practices, the players will be committed,” Cadena explained, adding that because all practices were not mandatory, some players skipped.

And yet those same players were in the starting lineup for the next game, which did not sit well with players who participated in every practice.

“That’s where she kind of messed up too, by not sitting them down,” said Cadena, who played soccer all four years.

Gonzales said the players lost a bit of energy by not practicing as often as they should, and by not working on conditioning. During the Christmas break, McConnell reportedly told the team not to contact her, according to Gonzales.

“ ‘Just let me enjoy my Christmas,’ was what she told the players,” said Gonzales, who played soccer for three years.

Both girls believed the conditioning aspect of their team began to lose focus during that holiday break. Late in the season, “The girls were dying out there; we were all out of breath,” Gonzales said.

As to what would be the ideal soccer coach for a varsity team, Cadena said a coach needs to emphasize conditioning and, “also, we need a coach committed to be there for practice. And not just take a break during holidays. A coach is needed who has skills and is able to teach those skills, and is patient with the kids, especially the freshmen. Most of the freshmen just sat on the bench this year and didn’t get a chance to play.”

In fairness to McConnell, she said in her email interview Feb. 9 that if she returns as head coach next season, “I will strive to remedy this fractured team, through discipline and hard work, consistency and team building.”