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MiraCosta soccer gets ready for return to field

OCEANSIDE — After a one-year hiatus, the MiraCosta College Men’s Soccer team is ready to get back on the field. Head Coach Frank Zimmerman was hired in December after the previous coach was let go.

MiraCosta College soccer head coach Frank Zimmerman

There is no comment from Athletic Director Pat Conahan, who was recently appointed to his position, as to why the former coach was let go.

Conahan said he is happy to have Zimmerman on board and believes he will lead the team in the right direction.

“It happened the right way to get the right guy in,” Conahan said. “Frank is a tremendous asset and great soccer coach.”

Zimmerman has deep roots in local soccer. He served as assistant coach at Palomar College and MiraCosta College, 16-year head coach for the Oceanside High School Soccer team, and director of coaching for the Soccer Club of Oceanside. Zimmerman also played on the MiraCosta College Men’s team in the late 1980s.

There are currently 80 potential team members on the MiraCosta College roster. That number will be narrowed down to 24 during tryouts in August.

To qualify, students must be enrolled in 12 units, meet academic requirements and be highly skilled at soccer. Zimmerman said most players who are trying out have extensive experience playing soccer in high school and local leagues.

“At the college level, it is a polished experienced player,” Zimmerman said.

While there are some returning players, Zimmerman said he is basically starting the team from scratch.

“I am starting from scratch with a real nice boost,” Zimmerman said. “I coached high school soccer for 17 years in North County, I’m the Soccer Club of Oceanside director, so I’m fairy well plugged in.”

College players can be on the team for three years and play during games for two years.

This caused some players to move on to other schools when last year’s team was cancelled.

Others finished out their lower division classes at MiraCosta without the opportunity to play.

Student Andrew Villalobos played a year with the team and stayed on at MiraCosta College last year to complete his lower division classes.

He said the news that the team was cancelled was confirmed by a letter from the dean that stated academics are the school’s priority.

“I was disappointed,” Villalobos said. “I’m not guaranteed to make the team at a four-year school. It was unfortunate.”

Villalobos will attend UCSD this year and try out for its soccer team.

A few former players, as well as transfer students, freshmen and sophomores, are vying for one of the 24 spots on the MiraCosta College team.