The Pierce College women’s soccer team is facing several changes as it switches from the Western State North Conference to the Western State Central Conference.
The switch will lead to shorter drive times for players, as it matches the Brahmas with teams that fall within a closer radius to Pierce College on the map.
Though players and parents will benefit from a shorter commute to games, women’s soccer coach Adolfo Perez has some concerns about how the change will affect the soccer team’s standing.
“It’s actually going to affect us in a negative way because our [former] conference was very strong,” Perez said.
Though Pierce is located in Southern California, in the past the Brahmas were paired with Moorpark, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Cuesta College, who all usually play well.
“In our sport, it’s about power points, which means the better your opponents play, or the better you do against them, the more points you get,” Perez said.
In order to make playoffs the Brahmas must win the conference. With ten conference championships already under their belt, the Brahmas are the only women’s soccer team in the state to make playoffs every single year.
“Sixteen teams make it out of 62. So by being in the other conference the last couple of years, we were able to get more points because we played Moorpark, Ventura and Santa Barbara who all do well,” Perez said.
Now Pierce is in a conference with weaker teams which could potentially hurt it’s chances of making playoffs.
“It’s a weaker division, which is not a good thing. You would think as the coach I’d be happy about it, but I like competition,” Perez said.
There are only eight planned conference games, so the soccer coaches have scheduled very tough non-conference games against other schools in an attempt to make up for it.
According to Pierce Athletic Director Bob Lofrano, the switch occurred because the Western State Conference, which the Brahmas were a part of, keeps growing and the Foothill Conference, which included College of the Desert in Palm Springs and Barstow, was disbanded.
“It was a long haul for those kids to drive just to go to a game,” Lofrano said.
After the Foothill conference was disbanded, all of those members needed to be moved to one of the other conferences throughout Southern California. There were originally six conferences, but since the removal of the Foothill conference there are now five.
According to Lofrano, the Western State Central Conference now consists of 17 teams, making it the largest in the state of California.
Women’s soccer was not the only sport to be affected by the switch. Pierce’s baseball, football, and women’s volleyball teams are all benefiting from the change, experiencing shorter traveling distances to games.
“I think it’s better. It’s better for the parents who want to go watch their kids play so they’re not going to Timbuktu,” Lofrano said. “Now we’re more centrally located.”
Along with the women’s soccer team, Pierce’s baseball team was also formerly in the same division as Cuesta, located in San Luis Obispo, which is approximately 166 miles away.
“It makes it like an eight to eight day. Leave at eight and get home at eight just to play one baseball game,” Lofrano said.
Women’s soccer team captain Makayla Nichols said she isn’t sure how the switch will affect the team’s standing but looks forward to closer games.
“It’s not going to be as far of a drive. Whether it’s preseason or regular season, we’re not traveling as far,” Nichols said.
Despite the concerns the conference switch has brought about, the Brahmas are off to a good start going 3-0 thus far.
The next game will be at Citrus on Sept. 13 against Citrus at 6 p.m.