College athletes training on their own amid pandemic

COVID and the Classroom

ST. LOUIS – Many college students are concerned they might miss their big break during this pandemic. Visit your local school’s track and you’ll often meet college students with stories about trying to get through.

There’s no team for 2018 Lafayette High School graduate Madison Kova to play on – so she works alone.

“I work out every day. Work on footwork and train here sometimes or just run,” she said.

Kova held off on college at first. Now she’s ready; and she’d like soccer to be a part of it.

“I would definitely like to go back to school, complete my education; it’s just hard, you know? I am actually working two jobs and I would actually just really like to go back to school and work around that,” she said.

Though Kova’s ready for college, she’s not convinced the schools are ready – for either the classroom or the soccer field.

That’s why college sophomores Justin Bacon and Trejohn Coleman are also training independently.

“That exposure is everything,” Bacon said. “You never know when a coach is going to be at a game, when a scout is going to be at a game to see what you can do; and not having those games is stopping you from being better.”

Coleman laments already missed opportunities.

“I know I’m going to show out when I get the opportunity to do it, but the opportunity has been lessened since we haven’t been able to play any games,” he said. “…Didn’t get to play any spring games, none of that, so yeah, I missed some opportunities … but I just keep my head up and keep moving on.”

They both have back up plans – majoring in business at Trinity Christian College in Chicago. They have big dreams, too, and college is a big part of that. But Bacon also just wants folks to get through the pandemic.

“My biggest fear has to be the health care workers,” he said. “My mom’s a nurse so…I kind of just focus on myself but then I always call my mom, call my brothers, and make sure they’re doing ok because my mom … she has COVID patients every day. She said it’s like a nightmare in the hospital.”

With family in St. Louis and Las Vegas—and school in Chicago—Bacon said he looks at the big picture nationwide. His one-on-one coach, Antwyne Golladay, put it best.

“I did see something that said ‘everyone wear their masks so we can wear our helmets,’
everybody is wanting to get back to it and hopefully this passes us by,” he said.

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