Archive for November, 2009

San Luis Obispo Soccer Hot Spots?

Soccer in America is almost like an underground genre of music; for those involved in the game it’s an everyday part of life, but for those who aren’t rabid soccer fans or dedicated players, soccer may be completely out of the limelight. In San Luis Obispo, soccer is just that. For people not involved in the many teams on the Central Coast, it would probably be tough to locate a store that sells soccer gear, the headquarters of the club association, or even a plain old soccer pitch. Even with Google search the results for soccer fields in SLO are sparse. Therefore,  I’ve compiled a mapped out list of a few of the main places where soccer can be seen and played in San Luis Obispo, just for future reference.

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Ladies of the Pitch: Cal Poly FC

Story Highlights:

  • The women’s club is in its inaugural season
  • It boasts a 7-1-2 record with an 18-3 goal differential
  • It will be attending Nationals in Phoenix, AZ on Nov. 21st

My freshman year at Cal Poly I was fortunate enough to meet a girl named Jordan Devault. We both lived on the third floor of Muir Dormitory, but that’s not all we had in common–we both loved the beautiful game of soccer. Every time we passed eachother in the hall we’d talk about intramurals, the school team, and just about the sport in general. We even almost go written up by our Resident Advisor for playing soccer in the hallways.

 At that time, both Jordan and I were debating trying out for the women’s team here at Cal Poly, and it turned out that Jordan ended up trying out while I sat in my dorm room regretting not doing it with her. When she unfortunately didn’t make it (by a hair, I might add), we began talking about how awesome it would be to start a soccer club that would maintain the same level of play as the women’s team, yet still allow us to have a semblance of a social life.

One year later, and countless hours of work and petitioning, I stood on the field trying out for Cal Poly FC, the first women’s soccer club at Cal Poly, and the brainchild of now club President Kelley Hoffmann, a third year Biological Sciences major,  and Vice President Jordan Devault, a third year Animal Sciences major. 

At the end of the season I suffered a soccer player’s worst nightmare: a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Meniscus. I am greatly indebted to all the members of CPFC for allowing me those short brief months to play the game I truly adore, and while it is absolutely excruciating to be stuck on the sidelines writing a blog about the sport I truly love yet cannot play, I wanted to give some recognition to the girls of the Cal Poly Women’s Club team, which officially gained club status at the end of last year, for having an amazing first season.

Another thanks goes out to Patrick Robertson, a third year Liberal Arts and Engineering Studes major, who has been head coach for the ladies of CPFC since it began in February, 2009. 

Pat is truly the only one that can aptly describe the success of CPFC and I wanted to include his writing in my blog. The following blurb gives a little information about the success of the team, and sheds light on the well-oiled parts that make it tick:

Who are these Girls?

“And the Britney song was on!” screamed [the lyrics] of Myley Cyrus from the iHome speakers as the ladies of the Cal Poly Women’s Soccer Club, also known as Cal Poly FC, tied on their “boots” and pulled over their green jerseys in preparation for the final match of the NIRSA (National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association) Regional Tournament in San Diego this past weekend.  The music, the girls claimed, helped them get in their groove.  In other words, it was a form of pre-match stress relief and after [four] games in one weekend, why not let Myley and Taylor Swift calm the pre-game nerves?

CPFC had stormed to the top their pool in order to receive a spot in the final.  They tallied a tie against USD, and wins against both ASU and UC Davis (who had beat the defending champions UCSB earlier that day).  Though they lost to University of Arizona in a “golden goal”

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A member of CPFC makes an offensive play during the recent Regional Conference. (Photo courtesy of Billy Csete)

overtime, the girls left San Diego with a second place finish in the club’s first ever Regional appearance and an automatic bid to the NIRSA National Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona the weekend of November 21st.  As Cal Poly’s first generation women’s club soccer organization, this young team is turning heads with every match they win.

The history of the Cal Poly Women’s Soccer Club, has been short but exciting to watch.  The young club was founded in the Spring of 2009 by President Kelley Hofmann, and Vice President Jordan Devault, and after two separate three-day tryouts the club now boasts a strong squad of 25 athletes.  This youthful, driven group of female footballers, with the help of the officers and coaches, has managed to start their inaugural season with a 7-1-2 record and an 18-3 goal differential overall.

Like many arenas of female athletics, both giggles and chatter are dominant sounds in between games and trainings, but these girls take their soccer seriously.  While enjoying their time together before and after the whistle, the girls keep the focus set to scholastic success and on-the-pitch domination.”

–Patrick Robertson

There is something about a soccer player that sets him/her apart from the rest of the athletic world. It could be the fact that we can run more than three miles in a single game and still be down to do wind sprints after, or it could be the fact that with every game the team, with the contribution of every single player, grows stronger, closer, plays more effectively, and shows the world that the sport of soccer is something to be reckoned with. Either way, it’s the people that comprise teams like CPFC that truly make the sport fun.

Interview with Cal Poly’s Head Soccer Coach Paul Holocher

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Holocher comments on the 2009 season thus far
  • What kinds of things the team does to prepare for big games
  • His thoughts on the Mustang Manglers
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A short Q&A Session with Paul Holocher in anticipation of Cal Poly's Nov. 4th match against UC Santa Barbara

The Mustang Manglers: Soccer Hooliganism at its Finest

By Claire Raymond

MANGLE (v.): 1. To mutilate or disfigure by battering or hacking. 2. To ruin or botch.

While the soccer fans here at Cal Poly are certainly not wielding cleavers, they certainly wield ego-mangling chants, vitriolic verbs and a whole lot of mangled love for the game of soccer. They are the Mustang Manglers, Cal Poly’s very own soccer hooligans, and there’s a reason their legions continue to grow year after year.

“Soccer Hooliganism” is a term that was first coined by the European media in the 1960’s, when riots outside English soccer stadiums became overly violent and unruly. According to an article by the Football Industry Group of Britain, “there are two very specific ‘types’ of disorder that have been labelled ‘hooliganism’: (a) Spontaneous and usually low level disorder caused by fans at or around football matches (the type that typically occurs at England away matches), and (b) Deliberate and intentional violence involving organised gangs (or ‘firms’) who attach themselves to football clubs and fight firms from other clubs, sometimes a long way in time and space from a match.”

For a lot of the world, the term “Soccer Hooliganism” gives the wrong impression of soccer fans everywhere, and violence at soccer matches has been cited by the lawmakers of many European nations as the reason for social disorder. However, for some, Soccer Hooliganism becomes a way of life and merely means lifelong allegiance to the colors of the home team, weekly attendance at matches, and the memorization of every soccer chant ever written.  One thing is for certain that for many fans Soccer Hooliganism is a way to live in the joy and angst of the game.

Here at Cal Poly, no spirit is as high, as loud, or as exhilarating as the spirit of the Mustang Manglers. As soccer becomes more popular in the

The Mustang Manglers 2009 logo as seen on the new season shirts.

United States, this organization, founded in 2006, has seen its number grow from a mere handful, to thousands who pledge allegiance to the black, green and gold of the Mustang Men’s Soccer team.

Christian Freitas, A fifth-year Business student and soccer aficionado attending Cal Poly, is to thank for the breeding of the Manglers. An avid soccer player since age seven, Freitas transferred to Poly from UC Santa Cruz to play for the Mustangs’ head coach Paul Holocher. Unfortunately for Freitas (but fortunately for the Manglers), a preseason injury kept him in the stands his second year, and the idea of the Manglers was born.

Freitas says that the idea for the Manglers started when he and several of his friends wanted to create a European soccer atmosphere at Cal Poly. Freitas estimates that what was once a small base of 20 people, has multiplied into more than 1,000 loyal rabblerousers over the last 3 years. For example, he says, “For the UCSB game last year [2008] here…the student base that sat with us and basically associated themselves with us as Manglers were in the thousands.”

So, what makes the Manglers tick? For one thing, it’s a form of involvement that surpasses anything else. These loyal fans know the names and jersey numbers of most if not all the Cal Poly players, have turned some of the most famous English Premiere League chants into their own, and can yell louder than anyone else around. Freitas says his favorite part about being a Mangler is “taking a player on the other team completely out of the game because we have gotten in his head.” And the Manglers do it very, very well–pre-game rituals include handing out printed sheets of paper with the names and jersey numbers of each player on the rival team, just to add insult to injury.

With new followers joining the mangled ranks of the organization each day, the future of the Manglers looks far from dire. Even though he is finishing up his last quarter at Cal Poly, Freitas is confident that the Manglers will be a lasting part of Cal Poly Mens Soccer. “I am hoping to have someone really take it over. I only think the true meaning of being a Mangler will sustain if it doesn’t become an official club of the school,” He says.

“Non-official” is a big part of what the Manglers, and soccer hooligans in general, are all about. Being a soccer fan is a feeling of freedom, force and utter insanity. It’s a tangle of limbs, voices, cheers and celebration. The Manglers embody this mindset and that is why students like myself are drawn to them: it doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you can yell loud and be even prouder, and, all the while, according to Freitas, “maintain a level of responsibility (or at least try).”

With that being said, I leave you with a Manglers chant, and a video of Soccer Hooliganism at its finest:

“Oh Cal Poly (Oh Cal Poly)!

Is Wonderful (Is Wonderful)!

Oh Cal Poly is wonderful! It’s full of Blondes, Brunettes and Soccer!

Oh Cal Poly is wonderful, Oy! Oy! Oy!”

I absolutely love Fall. sun + cool, crisp air = perfect soccer weather.