This year both Chabot College’s men’s and women’s soccer seasons were canceled on Sep. 20.
Athletic Director Jeff Druin explained why the season was shut down before it could begin. “For the women’s team, they did not have enough players to field a team as for the men’s team, we had 15 players, which is enough to compete. When we ran their eligibility, we discovered that six student-athletes were academically ineligible, reducing the roster number to nine eligible athletes, which is not enough to field a team.”
Jeff continued, “After having a conversation with Dr. Cooks, Vice President of Instructions, we made the decision to give the team some time to fix the situation. Shortly after, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the season.”
Student athlete Christopher Mercado shared his feelings regarding the season’s cancellation. “I think it’s sad. We put our all into this, and it was just taken from us out of nowhere. We’re really hoping there’s a better future for the sport at this college.”
In addition to the season’s cancellation, the men’s longtime soccer coach, Tony Igwe, announced that he would be stepping down from his position and retiring. “I just put in my resignation today. I’m gonna miss it. I just talked to the players. I will miss them.”
Jeff shared his thoughts about Tony’s departure. “The week he was hired as the soccer coach was the same week that I started in a full-time position here at Chabot. We worked together for many years. 22 years, to be exact.”
Jeff added, “Tony has inspired a lot of young soccer players. He has shown great care for all the student-athletes that played for him. I hope this next chapter in his life will be good for him, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Tony hopes that the athletic department will be able to add more support for the next head coach. “They just need to be behind them. Go to local schools and recruit, which I used to do. They just need to help the soccer department as much as they help Football and Baseball.” As for the vacant coaching position, Jeff explained that the department is hard at work in identifying new candidates to fill the role for the next year’s season.
Looking back at his time at Chabot, Tony is very grateful for what he was able to accomplish with his student-athletes and the bonds that he was able to build with them. “I know about five of my players now who have masters and PHDs, and they call me all the time and say, “coach, you remember when you brought me into your office, and you gave me a pep talk? That changed me.”
Tony added, “My job was to see these players move forward in life. I have a bachelors in physical education and I have a master’s in psychology, and I got my coaching credentials. I did everything to make sure that I stood out and that my players would do well. My intentions were always to push them forward toward a four-year university and a possible scholarship to play D1 soccer.”
Tony retires with an incredible career consisting of representing the Nigerian National Team in the 1968 Olympics, captaining his country during World Cup qualifying matches, and winning three national titles for the University of San Francisco. He also coached at the next level for Stanford University’s women’s soccer team.