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A women’s soccer team at York College is something that has been talked about by the school’s athletic staff for quite some time. What was lacking was an interest from the student body.
Until this year.
On May 4, the school made it official. Women’s soccer would be the 17th NCAA Division III program at the school and the fifth women’s soccer team to join the CUNY Athletic Conference.
According to York College Sport Information Director John Scarinci, a number of students approached the school’s athletic director and the program took off from there. Signatures from prospective student-athletes were the first thing needed to push the ball forward. A meeting was set up, which was attended by 40 girls. It was then deemed there was enough interest.
A key factor in creating the team was the assistance from the CUNYAC. Six teams are needed in the conference to get an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, so the conference was more than willing to help to achieve that number.
“The CUNYAC really wants to get that automatic qualifying bid, so they helped us out financially agreeing to pay for uniforms,” said Scarinci.
The tough task of leading a raw, volunteer team would go to the men’s soccer teams assistant coach, Kafui Kouakou, who was also a standout for York College during his tenure as a player. He is excited for his new responsibility.
“It’s a great emotion because I was already an assistant to the men’s [soccer] team for the past two years …. Now it’s much more of a big responsibility, and starting with a new team is even harder to build up everything.”
But the job has come with many challenges that Kouakou has had to tackle head-on. The inexperience of the team has shown in their record. The Cardinals have only managed one win in seven games.
“Most of them are freshman who came straight from high school, so they have no experience in college soccer,” said Kouakou. “It’s a little bit of something new to them because they have that high school soccer mentality.”
Jessica Cornejo, a freshman psychology major, believes that the team needs more practice and more players. The Cardinals have been hit with a spell of injuries that has made it hard for the team to compete at a high level.
As a result, Kouakou has had to make some tough decisions with the lineup, placing players in positions that they are not accustomed to.
“Right now, because of the injuries, I don’t have one team that I can use all the time,” said Kouakou. “I’m just waiting to get that right combination that’s going to fit into everything.”
The Cardinals have seven remaining games on their schedule to improve on their 0-4 conference record. Kouakou is confident this team can make some significant improvements.
“Everything is not going as good this year as we wanted it to, but for the next year or two we want to be the first team in CUNY,” said Kouakou.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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