Meeting the new faces

High school seniors had the opportunity to get a glimpse of their future home as the football program had their first-ever Prospect Day at Pierce College on March 9.

It was a time for the athletes to meet the coaches and potentially their future teammates.

The event started out in the Great Hall with a meet and greet, a light breakfast, welcome speeches, and a breakdown of the program’s different areas of focus by the coaches and staff.  

Head Coach Carlos Woods went through a slideshow presentation detailing how his plan for the program would be implemented.

Recruiting Coordinator Richard Dax Sanchies said he hopes that those in attendance commit.

“We hope to maybe land at least half the guys who attend Prospect Day and we’re looking to grow our program with quality athletes and quality character,” Sanchies said.

Conditioning Coach Dylan Flannery said they didn’t get more students due to SAT testing, which fell on the same day.

“Of course, we want all the kids we reach out for to come.  But you can count on two hands the kids we really wanted to try to get, and they basically all showed up,” Flannery said.     

Woods was focused on his goals for the day, but was also very positive for those who went.

“It was a phenomenal turnout,” Woods said. “You just never know, with today being an SAT test day, how many guys will actually show up.  From the group, we’re proud of the numbers that we have.”  

Senior Jordan Gouley describes an emotional connection to the school.

“I was born in California,” Gourley said. “So I have a lot of family in the area and it’s a great environment to be around.  In that aspect, that’s what really draws me to Pierce College and California itself, and that’s what I look forward to the most.”    

Other players also talked about the location being an advantage. However, prospects didn’t all start out here in the state, or even in the country.  

Danila Davydchenko came from Russia and played under Sanchies at Ribet Academy last season. He said he started playing soccer before transitioning to football.

“I played soccer for seven years until I came here. I played a linebacker in high school, but I might be transferring to safety in college,” Davydchenko said.

Davydchenko said that coming to a new country has been great for him.

“It feels great because I learn a lot from different people, it’s amazing. I think it’s great to know as much as I can about different cultures and different people, so it feels great for me,” Davydchenko said.   

After the opening breakfast, the coaches led a campus tour, showing the main weight room in the South Gym.

From there, they went into the pool area where Woods showed several videos of workouts from his phone and spoke about his reasons for opening the facilities to them.

“We want to leave no doubt,” Woods said, “No doubt, that you made a good decision as far as being here and experiencing everything we have to offer.”

Then it was back across the campus to the Great Hall for lunch, which consisted of pasta, Caesar salad, and bread from Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant, the same meal the team eats before each game.

During lunch, the projector was again utilized, showing footage from last season’s game against Santa Barbara City College.  

Prospects sat together and conversed, while coaches went around to see if there were any questions or concerns.

Woods invited everyone to the Field House. There, parents and prospects were led around the main locker room, the equipment storage, and the classroom where they would be spending time watching game film or attending mandatory study hall.

“It will double as a game room and as a study hall area for them,” Woods said. “They’ll be required to do at least 90 minutes a day in study hall, so the coaching staff can come in and make sure they get their work done.”

The meeting room will become a players lounge as they will have a giant TV, PS4 consoles among other things.

Woods also announced that there will be a barber’s shop for players to get haircuts since Sanchies is a barber himself.

After the facility tour, prospects met outside and each one took a moment to have their photograph taken — one with cheerleaders at their side, and another on their own— while wearing one of the Pierce College jerseys.  Parents took the opportunity to snap a few cell phone photographs as well.