In the past couple seasons of Pierce College Athletics, there has been a decline in the amount of students participating on the sports teams, making it harder for some of the programs to compete each season.
Tennis Head Coach Long Dao has struggled to find the minimum requirement of student-athletes to compete. Dao believes that this decline of students has been for a multitude of reasons.
“Usually when I recruit, most of all the players ask me about scholarships and how much I can provide them. My answer is always the same, ‘no junior college in California has any athletic scholarships,” Dao said.
Dao explained he was hoping the LA Promise Program would come to his aid, but it’s still fairly new to the college and it would only apply to the students coming from a LAUSD high school.
Dao also mentioned most high level athletes are going to want to look at the facilities they will be using, and the tennis courts are past due for renovations.
“Last season, I lost a recruit that ended up being the best player in the conference due to the court conditions,” Dao said.
Another budding issue is if a sports team does end up getting the necessary number of players, they now have to get the newcomers up to speed to the level of the athletes who have been practicing during the pre-season.
Swim and water polo head coach Judi Terhar explained how late-comers are affected in the teams she manages.
“A number of the athletes that are coming to us now at the beginning of school have missed an entire summer of training, we started back in June,” Terhar said. “Our late-comers coming to us in the first week from other schools not knowing that we already had our orientation, physicals, form ones, everything that is required had already taken place.”
Terhar also expressed that this poses a challenge on the personal trainers who now have to gear up new athletes in the middle of seasons for athletes who were at Pierce during their off-season.
Soccer head coach Adolfo Perez said coming into his 19th year of coaching, it is getting harder to go out there and recruit, but it is vital in order to keep his streak of being the only college to make the playoffs for 18 straight years.
“It isn’t easy, we aren’t getting paid to recruit. Soccer in college is a fall sport and high school plays in the winter so we are out there two-to-three games a day trying to compete with other colleges that have a lot more resources,” Perez said.
Though there have been struggles for the Athletics, Perez talked about what it is like to be clear of the danger zone.
“We are blessed on soccer to not have this issue, maybe because I’m always out there recruiting,” Perez said. “It is tough though, we are going through a transition period. I think that not having an Athletic Director on board makes it very difficult for us coaches.”
Teams like women’s volleyball are just starting to get their footing again when recruiting athletes. Edison Zhou, women’s volleyball head coach, said his team is doing better on numbers, but there is still work to be done.
“Last year we had 11, and I believe that 12-15 is a good number, this season we have 19 which is a lot better than last year,” Zhou said. “We need to be emailing all of the high school coaches in the area, going to clubs to meet players and posting online.”