CCA may lack funding for soccer championship

Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Concordia College Alabama men’s soccer team was selected for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national championship tournament, but it’s possible the team may not be competing due to a lack of funding.

After a 9-5 regular season that included only a single loss to USCAA competition, the Hornets were selected to the national tournament Tuesday as the No. 5 overall seed. After losing in the semifinals last season, Concordia was one of the favorites to contend for this year’s national championship.

Instead, there’s a chance the team won’t be competing at all.

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“Right now, they are not going to be able to go because we are not financially able to send them, unless something changes between now and the next day or so,” said Don Jefferson, who serves as the school’s vice president of student services and athletic director. “Right now, we are not going to be able to go.”

Jefferson said it would cost the school approximately $11,000 to make the trip for the tournament, which starts on Nov. 4 in Asheville, North Carolina at Warren Wilson College.

Last week, the school announced it would have to cut back on some of its travel cost to stay within its athletics budget. It looks like the soccer team may be among the first victims of that cutback, unless something changes quickly.

“It’s one of those situations where [the players] will have to understand that if you know you don’t have the funds to go, there’s nothing else you can do other but just say you can’t go,” Jefferson said. “It’s disappointing and certainly they would love to go and have earned the right to go, but financially we are unable to send them.”

Jefferson said he would talk to soccer head coach Emanuel Stephens and Concordia president the Rev. Dr. Tilahun M. Mendedo to see if a solution could be worked out at the last hour.

According to the USCAA’s tournament packet, bids must be accepted by the end of the business day on Wednesday, Oct. 28. If the team is unable to make the trip, Jefferson said the team likely will be replaced in the tournament field.

“If we don’t notify them by the 28th, then they will give that slot to somebody else,” Jefferson said.

Stephens said he had no reaction to the news that his team may not be competing in the tournament.

“I’m going to talk with coach [Stephens] and see,” Jefferson said. “He and I will talk and if we get something together I will talk to our president and see where that goes.”