Men’s soccer is proving there’s more to a record

Terrel Emerson

If there was ever a team who embodied the idea that there is more to a team than its record, it would be the Cerritos College men’s soccer team.

The Falcons are headed to the playoffs after capturing the South Coast Conference South Division title. However, the team only posted a record of 9-7-5.

And the team did it without their head coach Benny Artiaga.

“It was great to win a conference title and bring it back to Cerritos. It felt good to win it because it validates our boys for all their hard work,” Artiaga said.

In fact, Artiaga was in back surgery during his team’s crucial 3-2 victory over El Camino.

“It really hurt me to not be out there with my team, because I wanted to be there to celebrate and in case we lost I wanted to be there to console them.

“Luckily, we won and the first thing I did after surgery was ask the if Cerritos won so it did ease the pain quite a bit,” he said.

Forward Oscar Canela felt the win was necessary since the team was without their sideline general.

“For our coach to be in surgery and miss previous games, [the Falcons] knew we had to give it our full 100 percent. We wanted to get that win for us but mainly for him,” he said.

Artiaga explained that he had been limited all season long due to his bad back.

“My limitations were that I could not stand up or sit down [for long periods of time]. I could not coach and I was developing permanent nerve damage,” he said.

Artiaga expressed the intention to go to the first playoff game Saturday, Nov. 19 for the first playoff game despite needing to be on bed rest for a week.

The team never got down on themselves despite at one time holding a 2-2-2 record midway through September.

“This team is very talented, we hit a little bad streak mid-season but it had a lot to do with the changes and not seeing me there, but I thought my coaches and players did a great job of adjusting and turning it back around,” Artiaga said.

Canela talked about the struggle of not having the team’s head coach around.

“It was a struggle to not have him around, because he was very straight forward and told us where we needed to fix our mistakes in order to get the win. Just by not having our head coach there was different since we are a family and support one another on and off the field,” Canela said.

If the team needed anymore validation, the Falcons have played a potential playoff powerhouse, in Golden West College.

On Sept. 9, the Falcons lost 1-0 to the Rustlers.

Because of the aforementioned game, Canela encourages a potential postseason meeting with the Rustlers.

“If it’s possible yeah, but we don’t care what team is put in front of us because we are not going to back down,” Canela said.

Well it is possible because the Rustlers are seeded No. 2 in the playoffs, while the Falcons are ranked 15th; setting up a first round match-up between the two teams Nov. 19.

Golden West is heading into the playoffs with a 13-0-7 record.

Artiaga pretty much mirrors the same sentiments as Canela.

“We lost to Golden West but we really feel we were the better team. [If we play them again], we look forward to a great game and we’re confident we will hand them their first loss,” Artiaga concluded.