Spartans strive to come back stronger as CNCC soccer forced to forfeit upcoming games |

Spartans strive to come back stronger as CNCC soccer forced to forfeit upcoming games

Colorado Northwestern Community College's Roberto Martinez, left, and Wyatt Nielsen stay on top of the Salt Lake Community College offense during CNCC men's soccer's conference opener in Sept. 7 in Craig. CNCC will forfeit this weekend's home games with Utah State University Eastern due to academic issues with athletes.
Andy Bockelman

The Colorado Northwestern Community College men’s soccer program has seen many uphill battles so far this fall, and Spartans are hoping to finish out the season as planned after a hiccup this week.

CNCC coach Doug Seigle announced Wednesday that the upcoming home series against Utah State University Eastern scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park will not take place.

The Spartans will forfeit both the games due to a lack of academically eligible players, as too many members of the team are facing issues in the classroom.

“All our guys are freshmen, so I’m hoping this will help them do some growing up,” Seigle said.

Seigle said the decision was a difficult yet necessary one to emphasize to his players the need to balance their schoolwork with their time in the sport. He added that the measure is one he hopes will only be needed once, with the season continuing through the end of October.

The Spartans spent much of September on the road, most recently falling 4-0 and 6-0 in two games to Henderson’s College of Southern Nevada Sept 21 and 22. The week before were 8-0 and 7-0 losses at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

The team opened Scenic West Athletic Conference Play Sept. 7 and 8 with defeats at home of 13-0 and 11-0 to Salt Lake Community College.

CNCC has struggled with a small roster in comparison to opponents, and the loss of goaltender Jordan Fraedrich to a concussion early in the schedule has made Juan Mendez the go-to keeper.

The minimal amount of substitutes on the field has led to fatigue early in nearly every game.

“They’re staying competitive, and we can hang in there in the first half, but then we just start to get tired legs,” Seigle said.

The remainder of the schedule will see the Spartans rematch each of its conference opponents once — away Oct. 11 at Salt Lake, hosting Snow Oct. 13, traveling to USU Eastern Oct. 18 in Price, Utah, and hosting Southern Nevada Oct. 20.

The Region 18 Conference is Oct. 25 to 27 with a location yet to be finalized.

Not facing the same foe in back-to-back games will be beneficial, Seigle said, as well as having a day to rest in between matches.

“These single games should let us get it together mentally,” he said.

Despite their difficulties, Seigle noted that players have kept working hard to improve. Additionally, the team spent part of their week off from competition giving back to young athletes.

CNCC players visited Boys & Girls Club of Craig Sept. 26 to work on soccer skills with about 30 club members, engaging in a friendly scrimmage with kids.

Seigle said it was a good opportunity for the multiple Craig natives on the team to interact with children at the club where they had grown up, as well as a good experience for everyone involved.

“They’re an important part of the community,” he said. “They don’t realize just being there like that makes a difference, but now I’ve got more players who are looking for ways to volunteer.”