2020 was a difficult year. The emergence of a global pandemic known as Covid-19 presented every single person in the world with a unique set of challenges and hardship. It is important to note that while the members of Cal women’s soccer have not had the easiest past twelve months, we are incredibly grateful for our health and the support system made up of family and teammates who have helped us get through this year. We are also grateful to be in our first few weeks of practice since March 2020— the fact that we get to finally be together on the field again makes reflecting on the past year’s lack of soccer much easier.
That aforementioned month of March 2020 was a time of chaos for the bears. On Monday the 9th, we were practicing and preparing for upcoming spring games, and by Friday of that same week we had been shut down completely. We spent the next few months completely apart, everyone fled back to their hometowns to shelter in place with their families. As the academic semester came to a close, we looked towards fall with uncertainty. Though the possibility of a season looked unlikely, we put our heads down, trained, and prepared as though we were going to be playing like normal. In August, we returned to Berkeley from our scattered shelter in place locations and began to quarantine in hopes of starting preseason. After the first few days, we got the call that not only would the Pac-12 not be having a soccer season, but the City of Berkeley would not be allowing any organized sports until further notice. This order meant that not only would we not be playing a single game, but that we would not be allowed to practice as a team. It was a difficult reality to accept. On one hand, we understood the prioritization of slowing the virus spread, but on the other hand, there was nothing we wanted more than to play together again. We ultimately had no choice but to accept the decision and change our focus to preparation for a potential spring season. And we made the best of the fall semester in spite of it all.
Some bears went back home to their parents, but some of us stayed in Berkeley so that we could shelter in place together. We filled our time with online school, various pick up sessions with the men’s soccer team, and classic Berkeley shenanigans. We took it upon ourselves to help the small local businesses of Berkeley by eating Top Dog, La Burrita, and Manpuku at any chance we got. We managed to create some very fun lasting memories despite our sadness at the lack of soccer. And now that we are finally back together again on the field, we have renewed energy and fierce appreciation for the privilege of being able to play the sport we love with the people we love. Regardless of the hardships that came in 2020, we are incredibly grateful to be moving forward together. 2021 is our year.
Let’s Go Bears!