Fords collegiate athletes worry about possibly suspended seasons

Sixth Form soccer player Luke Macaione on May 11 at coach Mike Murphy’s Commitment Celebration Day – Communications

Nearly two months have passed since the quarantine orders were first enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the virus’s presence has affected activities that foster unity, camaraderie, and friendship, including sports. 

      In late March, schools cancelled all activities including spring sports, bringing the careers of all senior spring athletes to an abrupt end. Unfortunately, they were unable to compete for Inter-Ac titles, complete team-bonding events, and spend time with friends and coaches. 

     The normal spring seasons would have ended by now as we transition to summer, but the uncertainty takes a turn towards another sports season: the fall.  

     Without an effective source of treatment for COVID-19, many fall athletes fear the virus will ruin their seasons if universities prevent on-campus learning and medical experts forbid sports teams from practicing. 

     Several graduating seniors, who will continue their athletic careers in college, describe their emotions revolving around the uncertainty of the fall and their methods of navigating through the pandemic to continue working on their game. 

     Sixth Former Dante Perri, who will continue his football career at Lehigh University, speaks with an optimistic lens, reflecting on his previous football season when considering the uncertainty of the fall.

“My heart goes out to the seniors who have either already lost their senior year or are in danger of doing so.”

Dante Perri ’20

     “I feel very lucky that my final year of high school football was played, and that I am only entering my first year of college,” Perri said. “My heart goes out to the seniors who have either already lost their senior year or are in danger of doing so.

     Perri also highlights the importance of the spring in preparation for the upcoming season.

     “Losing access to Coach Rosko, fields to throw, and almost every form of a gym has been hard to overcome,” Perri said. “I do feel like I have been able to improve my mind over quarantine, but having to manufacture workouts is difficult.”

     Perri articulates a bright spot he’s discovered in the quarantine: improving his mind.

     “Now, I have moved to mentally sharpening myself. I am able to take time to really grasp my new playbook and watch a lot of film. I have been able to have access to some minor equipment which allows me to try to stay physically prepared,” Perri said. “I am able to get access to some fields where I can gather in small groups and throw, which has been helpful for me.”

     “I’ve tried my best not to think about, and with some preseason stuff that we’ve already done no one has really talked about [a canceled fall season],” Bowdoin-bound soccer player Luke Macaione said. “It would be so sad and heartbreaking for a lot of those kids. I feel more badly for the seniors who would have to miss out on their last season.”

     Macaione elaborates on the experiences his club FC Delco could have achieved if the pandemic never occurred.

     “My club team this year was definitely the best team I’ve ever been on. We have eight or nine Division-I recruits, and we were on track to make playoffs, which would have been the first time in the last ten years of the club,” Macaione said. “Playing against that Division-I-caliber competition four days a week and then games on the weekend—when you’re playing with better players is when you get better, and so I’m definitely upset I missed that chance, but I’m glad we had a couple of months to play together.” 

     Macaione values the team’s efforts to strengthen the relationship amongst the players and help them stay in shape. 

     “We have this running challenge going, so every week it’s a different challenge. The first week it was the most miles. We’re divided into three teams, so whatever team accumulates the most amount of miles wins, and it will determine fitness in the fall,” Macaione said.

    “We’ve also been in contact with the strength and conditioning coach, and we have this app that he sends us workouts. There are options to do workouts if you have the equipment or for bodyweight stuff, so it’s been a mix of conditioning and strength work.”

     Sixth Former Mathenge Mwangi, who recently committed to Temple University football, remains concerned about the upcoming season.

     “My emotions right now are a little mixed. I’m unsure about the season and just being able to play. The NCAA ruled that, starting June 1, we can be on campus, so it’s just up to the schools now,” Mwangi said. “This spring would have been helpful because of lifting and training. Lifting by myself has been a struggle and hard to get good work in.”

“I’m trying to stay positive and keep grinding.”

Mathenge Mwangi ’20

     Mwangi discusses his methods to continue exercising and preparing for the fall. 

     “Although it’s been hard, I’ve been working out a lot doing weights, speed training, and footwork,” Mwangi said. “I’m trying to stay positive and keep grinding.”

Sixth Form soccer player Will Boyes at Coach Murphys celebration – Communications

     Sixth Former Will Boyes, a University of Chicago soccer commit, spoke to the anxiety the pandemic brings when considering the fall season.

     Boyes said, “We’ve had team calls with Chicago, but my initial fear is that we won’t be on campus, and obviously you can’t play a season if you’re not on campus. I’m a little anxious in some ways to hear what is going to happen and nervous about the decision, but I hope we have a season.”

     Boyes emphasizes the importance of playing with his club, Penn Fusion Soccer Academy, for developing his game. 

     “If I were playing in games or at practice, there are certain situations I can work on that you can’t replicate when you’re in quarantine. I think that being with a team is helpful too, and being in that team environment,” Boyes said. “Plus, it’s helpful to have the structure of training sessions to keep you on top of things.”

Author: Carson De Marco '20

Carson De Marco '20 is a member of the journalism seminar. Recently, he won a Silver Key from the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Art & Writing Competition for his piece, "Wrongful Convictions; A Country’s Stain." Carson is a member of the soccer and lacrosse teams and a member of the Signet Society.