The soccer season here at Bellevue College has come to an end. The team fell short of their hyped past, however, ending the season with a record of three wins, ten losses and three ties. As the off-season starts, the coaching staff and players are working together to improve upon what they lacked this season.
Tao Shen, the men’s soccer head coach for the past two seasons, believes that next year will prove more fruitful for the team. “We played the toughest two conferences this year,” Shen said. Bellevue is in the west conference, with Peninsula College sitting at the top with a record of 20-1-1. Shen believes that the downfall of the team was the overall youngness of the team. “We were a very young team with only essentially three returners from last year’s team,” Shen said. It took the team most of the season to get comfortable. They didn’t “gel” with each other until the last quarter of the season but when they finally did, they played strongly, giving Peninsula’s team their only tie of the season.
Shen is planning to practice in the off-seasons to hopefully get the team more comfortable with each other and to improve their record. “We are planning to work with them throughout the winter and spring to prep them,” Shen said. Aside from working through the winter and spring, Shen is also looking for good recruitments to “supplement” the team. “We really focused on recruiting boys from this area or the state of Washington and sometimes it’s difficult to compete against programs with lots international students as seen in other institutions,” Shen commented.
According to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges, in overall ranking of every conference and team, BC didn’t come in last. Of all last place colleges in each conference BC had the most wins, with three. Of the four last place teams in each conference, the men’s team had the best season record of last places teams with three wins. Both Shoreline Community College and Wenatchee Valley College failed to win a league game, with Shoreline not winning a single game in their season. What Shen said rings true, that the BC men’s soccer team is in one of the most competitive conferences.
Shen’s expectations for next year include the quarterfinals, which will require a lot of time and energy from the team. To clinch a playoff berth they must come in third place of their league. This year they placed last.
However, in previous years the Bulldogs have gone on to win conference titles and championships. Shen expects the team to still strive for excellence, no matter their shortcomings or gains. “This soccer program is here to help players to mature and grow into the people they are proud to become,” Shen said. He feels that both men and women’s soccer programs gained a lot of ground in this aspect, but he hopes to improve the program capabilities next year. “We are planning to bring a solid group for both programs and should see a change of tide for the Bulldogs next year.”