It wasn’t even two months ago
when Alex Scheuler and John Hakari were hired as the new men’s and women’s
soccer coaches for a brand-new soccer program starting in the fall at Southeast
Community College. They knew recruiting would be a challenge since many high
school seniors already made their college decisions. Then life changed
drastically with COVID-19, and recruiting became even more difficult. High
school soccer is one of the spring sports that was canceled because of the
“It’s hard when I can’t see
them play live, it gives you a feel for how they are as a player,” Hakari said.
“Also, when you can’t meet face-to-face, it’s difficult. Text messages and
emails don’t really pull weight.”
“One of the obstacles is
dealing with prospective players with interest without having film,” Scheuler
said. “Without film or any sort of game footage to go off of, it’s hard for me
to really sign you unless your club or high school coach can vouch for you.”
Regardless of those
obstacles, Scheuler has managed to sign 21 players, and he’s still trying to
fill about nine more positions. One positive with everyone being at home right
now, Scheuler said, is they are easily accessible.
“Everyone is looking at their
phones, tablets and computers, so I will see messages and be responsive most of
the time,” Scheuler said. “This really gives me time as a coach to lay down the
framework and outlines for what I want the team to look like.”
Hakari has 17 student-athletes
interested in joining his women’s team, and many of them have a lot of talent,
he said. He said recruiting has been a roller coaster during this tumultuous
time, and he has highs and lows.
“We are trying to fill a team
during a global pandemic, it’s a crazy time,” he expressed. “We don’t have the
numbers yet, but we do have the talent.”
When a player is interested,
Hakari said they are able to take a virtual tour of the campus, with help from
admissions representatives in Beatrice. In addition to calls and texts, he’s
also doing a lot of video chats. Both coaches are looking forward to getting
back on the field.
“We'll have to build up an
insane amount of fitness after this shutdown of matches across the country,
along with minimal time to gel on the field,” Scheuler said. “I am already
beginning the process of laying out preseason plans. Every team at every
level will have this issue with getting back to normal operations.”
Meanwhile, the construction
of the soccer field is progressing nicely, said Bob Morgan, Beatrice Campus
Director. The rough grading of the field is complete, and work on the fine
grading is being done now.
“It is exciting to see the
green space change to a great entry point to the college,” said Morgan.
The first soccer match is set
for Aug. 26 at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. The first home contest will
be Saturday, Aug. 29. Men’s and women’s games will be back-to-back.