May 22, 2016

History Professor Kickstarts Soccer Club at San Antonio Community College

Reporting Texas

It’s rare to find a manager whose team loses two-thirds of its games yet who considers the season successful. But for David Galindo, winning wasn’t his main priority this year. The 27-year-old history professor at Northwest Vista College was happy just to see his school put a team on the field.

Located off the 1604 Loop just a mile north of SeaWorld San Antonio, Northwest Vista has more than 17,000 students on a 137-acre campus. It’s one of five schools that comprise the Alamo Colleges system, offering students the opportunity to earn associate degrees, certificates or credits that can transfer to a four-year university.

As a two-year college, it doesn’t have traditional collegiate athletics like most four-year institutions. While most two-year colleges don’t offer any club sports, Northwest Vista has club teams for basketball, volleyball and cross-country. Galindo, a former soccer player, wanted to give former high school players on campus an opportunity to extend their athletic careers.

“I know several players have ambitions to continue on and play at the next level,” he said. “I am attempting to bridge that gap and show them the way to continue to grow as players. Seeing as how all of my players are either freshmen or sophomores, this team will provide them with an opportunity to develop and mature to have the potential to move up and play at even higher levels.”

A San Antonio native, Galindo’s passion for soccer dates back more than a decade. As a high school senior, he was named one of the best players in his district. In 2010, he went to South Africa to watch the World Cup, an experience he calls “the most amazing trip I’ve had.” In 2012, as a player-coach for the University of Texas at San Antonio club team, he coached the team to its first undefeated season and earned team MVP and campus athlete of the year honors – all while completing his master’s degree. He stayed on as coach for another year, finding time to plan practices and scheme game plans while teaching history at Northeast Lakeview College (another Alamo Colleges school) and Northwest Vista.

On May 11, 2013 – the day after classes ended for the spring semester – Galindo suited up for the Houston Dutch Lions FC, a professional team in the fourth division of U.S. Soccer. He played in five games that summer, playing 148 total minutes without a goal or assist. But he substituted his soccer career for his professional one in July, when he accepted an assistant professor position at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Galindo returned to Northwest Vista a year later, but noticed something was missing: a soccer team. He met with Athletic Director Daniel Johnson last fall to pitch the idea of a club team.

“As a former student here at NVC, and now a current professor, I wanted to provide a service and opportunity I wish I had while attending,” Galindo said.

With Johnson’s approval, Galindo worked throughout the winter to prepare for the club’s first season. Some students saw messages on Facebook and Twitter. Others saw the flyers posted across campus. Others heard from the coach himself. In total, 24 hopefuls turned out to tryouts. On Feb. 19, a Facebook post confirmed 20 students as the first men’s club soccer players at Northwest Vista

Hector Sandoval, a defender, had played soccer at Winston Churchill High in San Antonio, which has produced professional athletes such as MLB pitcher Randy Choate and former NFL quarterback Cody Carlson. An international business freshman from Guadalajara, Sandoval jumped at the chance to keep playing soccer.

“The tryouts were good for me,” he said. “I had a lot of fun and I felt confident that I was going to make it to the team, even though there was some competition.”

There was little time for icebreakers or complex offensive and defensive schemes. On Feb. 27, just eight days after the roster was announced, the team played its first game, against the University of Incarnate Word, a private Catholic college in San Antonio.

Despite just a week of practice, Northwest Vista won its first game, 4-2. Eduardo Turcios, a business administration sophomore from San Antonio and the team’s captain, was glad to see the team work so well together.

“We started off great,” Turcios said. “I scored the first goal and we attacked relentlessly and finished clinically.”

The honeymoon ended quickly. Northwest Vista lost its next two games, including a heartbreaker in the final minutes against UTSA. On April 10, the players collected their gear and made the trek north on Interstate 35 to play the University of Texas at Austin. NVC’s record was 2-2, coming off a 5-1 victory against UIW two nights before.

Confidence was high despite facing an opponent steeped in tradition. Established in 1964, the UT-Austin men’s club soccer team is considered one of the better teams in the country, having won three national championships in the 1990s and adding four regional championships since the turn of the century.

Matt Prewett, in his 12th year as coach of the Longhorn men’s soccer club, saw a lot of promise in the nascent program.

“They scored on us first, actually,” he said. “It was competitive for the first 20, 25 minutes.”

But the Longhorns would score eight unanswered goals before the final whistle. A 3-2 loss to St. Edward’s University a week later ended Northwest Vista’s season on a sour note. Galindo knew the inaugural season would have ups and downs. And moving forward, he knows his team will face more turnover than the four-year schools in Northwest Vista’s division. But that hasn’t dampened his excitement for next season – tryouts and a training camp are already scheduled for mid-August.

“I feel the team has gained a great deal of experience,” Galindo said. “Playing against large schools like UTSA, UT and Texas State has shown them how much work we still need to do.”

Turcios, who tied for the team lead with three goals, and Sandoval plan to transfer to four-year universities after completing their coursework at Northwest Vista. Neither wants to see their soccer careers end, and thanks to Galindo and Northwest Vista, they can hold on to that dream a year or two longer.

“I look forward to continuing this journey I have been on all my life playing soccer,” Turcios said. “I’m not sure where I’ll go, but rest assured, I’ll be playing soccer.”