Student athletes must balance demanding practice schedules with the academic rigor of a full-time student. But multisport athletes have it even worse.
Sophomore Yvonne Taylor knows this all too well, with basketball season ending and soccer season coming up quickly.
“I’m really eager to play because we made it to second round of playoffs this last year [in soccer],” Taylor said. “Basketball season wasn’t the best season, so it’ll be nice to go into a winning season.”
Taylor’s freshman year on the basketball team was cut short due to an academic requirement of maintaining a 2.0 GPA while she unfortunately had a 1.9, said women’s basketball Head Coach Coral Sage.
Players have to be enrolled in 12 units, and if they don’t pass six of those units or maintain a 2.0 GPA, they become ineligible to play.
Taylor said that it’s hard being ineligible because you don’t get that year back, and you only get two years to play a sport in community college.
For some multisport athletes, it’s really hard to come from a fall season sport into basketball because basketball spans two semesters, Sage said.
Taylor “came in and filled the holes where we needed. She gave us energy and contributed in the ways that she could for us, and we were really thankful for that,” Sage said.
However, Taylor feels the pressure from both sports weighing in on her.
“It’s hard mentally and physically on the body. Basketball is more fast sprints, whereas soccer you have to have endurance [and] be able to run for a solid 45 minutes a half, where basketball is only 40 minutes total with 10 minute quarters. The energy level is very different,” Taylor said.
Despite the challenges of being a multisport athlete, Taylor said being a basketball player as well as a soccer player can be fun because it’s having the same end goal that makes it count.
“Having one big family and different girls come in and have the same mental game – all [we] want is to win and all want to compete. It’s nice to have girls on the same competitive level,” said Taylor.
Coming up for the fall soccer season, women’s soccer Head Coach Cesar Plasencia said he has high expectations for Taylor.
“I expect her to be a contributor just like she was last year,” Plasencia said. “She ended up being one of our most consistent players who I could count on for pretty good performances throughout the whole year.”
“Her energy, her athleticism was very helpful to try and accomplish some of the things we tried to accomplish.”
Taylor’s parents put her in soccer at the age of five, and from there her love for the sport grew.
When on the field, Taylor said she feels free. “You’re not in set plays, you kind of have the ability to move and make decisions on your own,” she said. “I feel like it’s less structured [compared to basketball].”
The team starts their preseason conditioning in the beginning of August with Plasencia, who Taylor said is a good, encouraging and demanding coach who knows how he wants his players to act and play.
Being a multisport athlete takes away from a student developing her skills at one particular sport to excel at that sport, said Plasencia. However, Plasencia said Taylor fulfills her role at a high level and is very versatile.
“She’s an outstanding young lady, she gets along with everybody, and works really hard all the time, so she has the respect of her teammates,” Plasencia said.