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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

New soccer coach sees positive outcomes after winless season


The City College Women’s soccer team. Diane Rose | Guest Photographer


New soccer coach sees positive outcomes after winless season


This year the Panthers had a new face at the head coaching position for the City College soccer team. Before taking the job, new head coach Alexia Poon spent two seasons at the helm for Arizona Western College—where she posted a 27-13-5 record.

Poon, who is from Sacramento, attended C.K. McClatchy High School. While she was in Arizona, she was looking to come back to California and take a position that would fit her well.

“I was really lucky and excited to have this job,” said Poon, who took over for current men’s cross-country coach Jang-Ha Oh. “When I was in Arizona, it was more of a stepping stone. I’ve had my eyes set on City (College) for a long time. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this program one day, and I didn’t expect it to happen this soon.”

Before beginning her coaching career, Poon graduated from California State University, Stanislaus. There, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology.

In her first season coaching at City College, Poon and her team finished the season winless at 0-18-1. The Panthers were shut out in 13 of their losses but were able to tie Yuba City College (10-7-2) 0-0 in a road game back in September.

“I didn’t have a lot of time to recruit,” said Poon, when recalling the challenges of the season. “I came to pretty much no team—there was no one recruited—the bigger challenge was me trying to change the culture of the program,” Poon said.

Although the team wasn’t getting the results that it wanted, she added, toward the end of the season the players started to find themselves.

For example, the Panthers played a Big 8 Conference game against second-place Folsom Lake Falcons Sept. 28. City College was shut out 11-0 in the game. But Poon said she saw a difference in their opponents’ style of play toward the end of the season. “Teams were changing the way they were defending us,” she said, indicating her team’s progress on the field.

When the Panthers met the Falcons a month later at home, they were shut out again, but this time the final score was 3-0. “As a coach, that was really exciting,” Poon said. “Yes, it was the end of the season, and we have a losing record, but other teams can see what we’re capable of.”

This was her first year having to face the difficulty of losing she said. “I’m a very winning person—my whole life—even when I was a youth soccer player to going to college, I was always on winning teams.”

As the season went on, Poon said, she had to make changes by cutting players who weren’t invested in the program. “The reality is we set a goal as a team, and there is an expectation. I want players that are going to be committed.”

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While discussing the availability of the team, Poon said the health of the team was strong, but it was tough rotating three players while opponents had the numbers advantage and were rotating 10 players. “They were still excited to keep playing and we saw improvement, she said.

 As soon as she was hired, Poon said she started to recruit players to build her team.  “The one great thing about being from Sacramento is that I have a lot of connections with club coaches and high school coaches,” she said.

However, one of the biggest challenges on selling recruits on playing for City College, Poon said, is having them bring up the team’s winless record.

“(Players) can be the difference in us going to a state championship. It only takes two quality kids. If you look at all of the teams in our conference, they only have two standout kids, and the rest are good players,” she said.

Poon believes selling herself as a coach is the main key to convincing athletes to play for her.

“Where I was at previously, I moved 98 percent of my athletes to a four-year school,” she said. “That’s the one thing I can sell, and I know that I can do it.”

This season Poon appointed as assistant coach her younger sister, Jade Poon, who finished in the top 30 for the NCAA Woman of the Year nominees.

“I thought she would be a great addition to the program. She has always been a great leader and is incredibly hardworking,” said Poon.

She also added that her sister is seen as someone who her players look up to. “She is fresh out of college and has experienced everything my athletes will soon experience. That’s a great dynamic to have.”

As for the returning athletes, the team is currently doing fitness buildups. Poon said she plans on giving the team a four-week fitness package to have them prepared in time for the spring.

“I’m confident that the returning players I just finished with are going to work really hard,” she said.



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