The Humboldt Jacks brought the heat this weekend with their speed and talent on the field. Despite the final score of 83-14, the Jacks and CETYS Zorros showed good spirits as they unified for a cheer at the end.
For those athletes out there, you know the feeling of excitement when playing against other sports teams. But it’s a different feeling traveling with your team to another county or state, let alone traveling to another country.
Being on competitive college teams, you know this is a big step for your team and your career as an athlete; you have the opportunity to travel to another country and experience much different techniques and styles. But how often is it that these countries come to the US?
Numerous teams worldwide have traveled to play games that have occurred in other countries, but very rarely is it heard of that international college teams have come to compete in the United States.
On Saturday, Sept. 2, Humboldt State University kicked off the 2017 football season by playing against Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior Universidad from Mexico. CETYS is located in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, about two and a half hours away from the U.S. border in San Diego.
More significant is the fact that this university has been one of many that are in the process of trying to join the National Collegiate Athletic Association and compete at the Division II level.
They begin this process at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) where the team is reviewed and then determined on whether or not they will be eligible to play. HSU’s Interim Athletic Director Duncan Robins believes this will help them build their program. Robins says that this game will be an exhibition to attract players, where they can find out whether they want to play at this skill level and do what it takes to play with these other teams.
“[For CETYS], it is a step towards playing for the NCAA,” Robins said.
Months before the season, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), which consists of the California State Universities (CSUs) and University of California San Diego (UCSD), came together in a conference to determine the athletic schedule. The opportunity was made available by that conference. CETYS showed the same skill level as a Division II team and HSU jumped at the opportunity to play against them.
“This is a whole new experience, we don’t have as much information as we would for a normal game and there’s a lot of unknown,” said Head Coach Rob Smith. “[But] there’s a high level of energy of this being our first game of the season, we’re excited about having the chance to play someone new.”
The game held at HSU served as an exhibition to give CETYS the chance to create more opportunities for Mexican student athletes and allow them to play more competitively in other sports like football, soccer, basketball and so many others. The Zorros came with the reason to learn and grasp new techniques and strategies, and that is exactly what they feel they’ve achieved.
According to an article on remezcla.com, CETYS has “a better bid” than Monterrey Tech did and makes more “financial sense” for the NCAA, they could potentially become a provisional member in 2018 after a vote by the committee in January. There’s a lot of logistics to think about and paperwork to fill out to be able to participate at the Division II level, but CETYS shows the skill level and determination to make it to the NCAA.
“We are ecstatic about offering this opportunity for our student athletes,” CETYS Athletic Director, Enrique Lechuga said. “Many other schools in Mexico do not have this type of opportunity so we plan to use this as a learning experience for the rest of the season.”
HSU warmly welcomed CETYS and played a fair game. Overall, the different experience that CETYS had was like no other, and they will take what they’ve learned and use it to their advantage for their season in the future. At the end of the game, both teams came together with the same passion and determination for the sport.