Filipino footballer Shanden Vergara has just concluded his first season with Snow College Badgers after ending the campaign in the conference finals of the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA). Despite not reaching the nationals, the San Carlos City native shared his overall experience across the Pacific and how it molded him as a player.
Speaking to the 5th Minute of Added Time via online chat, the former DLSU Green Archer imparted the overall initial challenges he faced when he transitioned to his then new environment.
“I find my first season here at Snow a challenging and an enjoyable one. Back in a few months, I had to readjust again being far away from my family, playing football in a different country, new environment, new school, and a different climate. In my first week, it was difficult for me to adjust.”
From an ordinary fan perspective, the UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year’s decision to move overseas came as a surprise after a stellar showing in just his debut season where he helped the Archers reach the final. But Shanden continued to push the envelope by going further out of what could have been his new comfort zone to test his mettle in the United States after getting a scholarship with Snow College and eventually getting settled into his life as a student-athlete with the Badgers.
“As time went by, I started to adjust and because of my faith in God, I never felt that I was alone despite the difficulties,” said the now Filipino Badger.
Eventually, Shanden made a mark for his team through his efforts – on top of his already undeniable talent in the sport. Such was his contributions that he was even recognized by the NJCAA’s regional governing body as one of its standout players.
Although the Badgers came up short in their plans to survive out of Region 18 and compete in the nationals of the NJCAA after being defeated 1-3 by Salt Lake City Community College, Shanden has a lot to thank for in his first season with Snow College.
“Playing here at Snow has helped me a lot in becoming better as a player and especially as an individual. Being surrounded by people from different backgrounds has shaped me to the person I am today which I’ve learned so many things from them on how they treat football as part of their life and especially during training that they always push me to work even harder and help others who are struggling.
“Our season went up and down and yet we fought hard and played for each other until the very end but we fell short. Our main goal was to qualify for the nationals but we couldn’t make it happen. I’m very grateful to be here at Snow because of the challenges that I’ve encountered on how I overcame them and especially to my coach Nuno (Gourgel), who gave me the opportunity to play here and brought my own full potential,” Shanden further shared.
With the season already wrapped up, Snow College now set its sights on their next campaign in spring 2020 which will be a set of friendlies in preparation for the actual NJCAA campaign which begins in fall.
Finally, given that Shanden’s junior college tenure is all in preparation for university, the Filipino international is still mum on which will be his next destination when inquired on this aspect, given that it is still too early to tell considering the US academic calendar and sporting system.
“In this matter, I can’t say which school I am going to transfer because I am waiting which school gives the best offer for me. We’ll see what happens.”
Photo credit: Shanden Vergara Twitter account