Men’s team sputters near the end, but recoups just in time to make the playoffs

Although his stats weren't eye-catching, according to Coach Link, Gilardo     Villegas made the most contributions to the team. ()

Although his stats weren't eye-catching, according to Coach Link, Gilardo Villegas made the most contributions to the team. ()

Daniel Link, head coach of the Men’s Soccer team, describes the Trojan’s season as “The most successful men’s soccer program in ten years.”

With a record of 12-7-2, they rank as twelfth in the California Community College Soccer Regional standings, and they’re a shoe-in to enter the playoffs.

“So far, so good,” said Link, expressing his pride for his team.

The Trojans started their season 9-0-1 and were ranked 5th in the nation, which was described as the peak of their season by William Sandoval, a defensive player for Skyline.

The Trojans also learned a lesson in humility this season. Due to injuries, they suffered a five-game home losing streak.

“When we started losing, we started to doubt ourselves,” Coach Link said.

William Sandoval stated that their first loss to Hartnell College triggered a downward spiral for the team.

“We were good, but we started getting cocky,” said Gilardo Villegas, midfielder for the Trojans.

They were also almost eliminated from the playoffs when they suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to West Valley College in their last road game.

Coach Link summed up the season as a great learning opportunity for the whole team, having experienced the highest of the high and the lowest of the low.

“We have learned a lot individually and as a team,” he added. Even when faced with adversity, the Trojans rose above them and came away with something great.

Link was also excited that they were able to make the postseason.

It was a tight squeeze, according to Sandoval, but a great achievement nonetheless.

However, their journey to bring fame to Skyline College’s Men’s Soccer program isn’t over yet. A greater challenge now lies ahead: playoff season.

Their first game is scheduled on November 18, against a higher seeded team from San Francisco, but Coach Link has high hopes for the Trojans. To solidify Link’s confidence in his team, he said, “To be the best, we have to beat the best.”

With Jose Ruiz being the second highest scoring player in their division, Wallid Saad, who scored 18 goals this season, and their talented midfielder Villegas, whom the players affectionately call “The Boss,” they have a chance.

Coach Link also gives credit to Villegas as the cohesive element that his team needed, and though his contributions do not appear in stat points, the leadership he provides is more important.

“We feel that we could really do something out there,” Link said.