With a record of 0-7-2, the American River College men’s soccer team and head coach Paul Hansen are running out of answers.
There are plenty of questions to ask, though. One that Hansen would like to figure out in particular is what happens to his team in the second half of games.
Despite their record, ARC has trailed going into the second half just once, speaking to a theme of falling apart in the second half.
“We just don’t finish games,” said Hansen after a 2-0 loss to Cosumnes River College on Thursday.
The game against CRC was a familiar situation; after looking equally matched through the first period and going into halftime tied 0-0, ARC let two goals in during the second half and looked despondent throughout.
ARC complained about every call that went against them, and would visibly slow down after making any mistakes.
Goalkeeper Andres Olmeda has seen the way his team responds to being behind.
“It’s just things that we don’t brush off. We hold on to a lot of stupid fights and stupid plays too long. I feel like that’s our number one problem, getting over things like that,” said Olmeda.
Nobody on the team believes that a lack of talent is the reason the teams remains winless.
“We’re competitive in every game, we just haven’t had enough,” said Hansen.
Olmeda agreed and said, “We have talented players. We see it in practice and during games we have moments of magic. But it’s just mental toughness.”
Hansen believes the youth of the team could be a contributing factor considering there are only five sophomores on a team of 25.
“That has an impact, but it shouldn’t be this big,” said Hansen.
In a postgame speech to his players that evoked massive frustration with where the team was at, Hansen called on every individual to come back to the next practice with a new attitude and ready to work.
“I hope we come together and leave our problems off the field, and have a little more trust in each other. We need to work on our chemistry,” said Olmeda.
The good news though is that the Big 8 Conference looks particularly weak this year, and ARC still has a shot if things turn around quickly.
“At this point, we’re just going game to game,” said Hansen.
“We’re just trying to get our first win. Our league is still winnable … we need to win a couple and get back in it.”