By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Making that move from High School to College is no easy task.
The pace, the techniques, the game itself is so much faster.
At Corban University, their Men’s Soccer Team fielded two separate units when they began their season scrimmages following the start to Fall Training.
Of those players, are three freshman that are featured in this piece:
Alex Muir of Whitney High School in Rocklin, California. Colby Cross of Consumes Oaks High School in Elk Grove, California and Christian Silva of Westview High School in Portland, Oregon.
For Muir and Cross, being from the Greater Sacramento area (roughly about 2.5 million people), the move up to Salem (about 400,500 people); it was a big cultural shock when they traded the building and city life for the mountain life in Oregon.
“It’s super different,” said Muir. “Growing up in Rocklin, I’ve grown up in the suburbs my whole life so being around the nature and stuff it’s so different. There’s some things I don’t like, some things I do like; but it’s just different, but I’ll get use to it and I think I’m getting used it pretty well.”
For Cross, he worked over the summer in Powell Butte, Oregon in Central Oregon; and the experience helped to soften the culture shock and adjust to the open space that Oregon is notorious for.
“I actually like it a lot,” said Cross. “I’m so use to the city where there’s houses and buildings everywhere. But this is more open and I like it like that because, I don’t know, the views are nice and it’s more open, I like it.
“There’s some things I miss about the big cities, but I like it out here better honestly already.”
As for Silva, going from a school of 2,651 in Westview, a 6A school in Oregon, to the Warrior campus of 1,024 was a little bit stunning; but enjoys the smaller campus and cites being at smaller campus prior to going to Westview.
“I’ve gone to private schools most of my life with the small environment and having to change to the High School I went to, you know, is a big step,” said Silva. “Big or small, I’m easy to adapt which is nice.”
Cross added that he’s enjoying it and already, having gone from the Division-II Wolfpack of an enrollment of in California, to the NAIA school, made friends
“I’m kind of liking it honestly because everyone is close and I’ve already made tons of friends,” “More than I thought I would have. We all hang out together and have fun, so I kind of liking it so far.”
Following his commitment, Silva was invited by Head Coach Aaron Lewis to join himself and a few people from the Corban University squad on the Vancouver Victory FC squad that won the EPLWA Championship a few weeks ago.
And it was an great opportunity said Silva as he grew accustomed to the college game while getting to know his new Head Coach, new teammates on as he shook off the rust from a long break from playing.
“I was honored,” said Silva on the opportunity. “Because when I signed on National Letter of Intent Day, I kind of had a long break because High School is in the Fall for us. So coming onto Victory, playing with Aaron, got my touch, got me back into the flow of the game.
“And we play against older guys. The competition is just as tough, if not even tougher. We played with a lot of different players…The game of play, the movement, definitely got me to that next level and what to expect what the season what was going to be like.”
Some players featured from Corban, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount.
Heading into camp, and joining the team, Cross, Silva and Muir all saw how different this game of Soccer that they love was compare to how it was a few months ago in High School.
“It’s much harder work,” said Cross. “The pace is a lot faster than what I was used to from my High School and even club team. So the pace is different, it’s just working your hardest and keep practicing everyday so you can get used to it. You got to have confidence.”
Silva adds that communication and spacing is crucial from the prep level to the collegiate level of soccer.
“Communication is key,” adds Silva. “In high school we talked, but I mean it wasn’t non-stop. Especially with Colby and I playing Center Back, we have to be leaders as freshman to direct our midfield and forwards. When to drop in and when not.
“So I would say communicating and spacing off the ball and making sure that we open up so that we can be that extra option for our outside backs or midfields when they have no way to go.”
But, Muir, Cross, Silva and the rest of the freshmen embraced it, embracing the challenge of what was in front of them versus the team in front of them.
Muir started in goal during the first 30 minute period of the scrimmage versus Clark College; and though the slow start, he warmed up to the pace of the college game during the scrimmage.
“There was a lot of nerves before the game which was probably normal,” said Muir. “I was pretty nervous the first couple of minutes. But once I got a couple balls played back and just talking and stuff, getting the balls in my hands a little more comfortable.
“I thought I did fine, I’d like to play a little bit more aggressive than I did. It’s a progress. But overall I was pretty excited to play today.”
Though they played just that morning scrimmage, they know they got so much time and room to improve moving forward with their collegiate careers.
Lewis has enjoyed how the incoming freshman are adjusting to the demands of the college game, gravitating to the upperclassmen and the coaches; acknowledging that they are hungry, yet humble while adjusting to the grueling marathon that is college soccer.
“That’s hard to do,” Lewis described to keeping the young kids on track. “In the context of today, we’re getting everybody time, no matter what the score is, to invest in people and develop players. We have to remind ourselves that it is a marathon and that we are trying to get ready for conference games that happen next month.
“It will come pretty quick, and yet we really want everyone in our program have a growth mindset. One that you get better every day and know that it’ll pay off in not just conference play but for the years down the road.”
As the Warriors turned to their next scrimmage to Chemeketa, with Cross, Muir and Silva watching with a few teammates from the sidelines; they know they’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve moving forward; though there is some satisfaction with how they did their first time out in the Corban colors.
“I thought I did pretty well I thought my distribution was good I came of my line when they needed me and I felt pretty comfortable with the team I just need to play a little higher off my line,” said Muir.
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