Tackling The Lack of Sports Facilities at GFHS

Godinez athletes face obstacles to practice and play


Eduardo Rosas

From left: Varsity waterpolo captain Anthony Sanchez, water polo players Andrea Muniz, Paulina Calderon and JV waterpolo captain William Feuerborn hope to see the area behind them built into a pool.

Karime Carrillo and Jennifer Salgado

Principal Jesse Church is working on getting Godinez Fundamental High School the necessary sports facilities.

Church has been meeting with several parent groups and coaches brainstorming about getting a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a football stadium. It was also his concern when he was at GFHS as assistant principal nine years ago.

Church, said, “It’s a process I’m willing and committed to go through. I’m not sure we’re going to be able to get all those things at once.”

Here are the challenges that Godinez faces due to a lack of facilities:


Heriberto Cortez and Regina Parga, boys and girls tennis coaches, struggle to get their athletes to practice. There are problems sending athletes to practice because the courts are a few miles away. The coaches end up giving them a ride in the school sports van, they have to find their own ride to practice or jog there.

Cortez said, “Despite the challenges, our girls and boys show up to practice every day and stay committed to the team even though they know it’s difficult for them to get picked up from somewhere else.”

Once the team shows up to McFadden, they now have to take turns using the courts. For over 30 players, there are only five courts that can be used at any given time.

Parga said, “It’s a safety issue for the student-athletes because instead of them going to Valley who has nine tennis courts that are hardly being used they sometimes have to jog to McFadden which is 1½ miles away.”


Kevin Pola, a football coach at Godinez Fundamental, says not having the necessary facilities for football is a big struggle for him and his athletes. He says it’s both psychological and practical. Pola says they do not have the necessary space in order to be effective. He adds, “I just feel like our kids see what the rest of the school district has which makes us feel like a stepchild. They feel ignored, and neglected by the school district.”

 Pola also adds on that the psychological factor of not having the necessary facilities are the kids not feeling confident of having their own stadium to play. Pola adds, having heard the district has an excess of $106 million, a fraction of that could possibly pay for all the facilities. “If we find the money, we can have the facilities…well, someone just found 106 million dollars,” Pola added humorously.

Water Polo:

Jessica Morris, the swimming coach at Godinez says not having the necessary facilities at Godinez is quite hard because it’s time-consuming. The water polo and swim teams don’t start practice until 5 p.m. at Valley High School and most days end at 8 p.m.

The walk to Valley High School is 20 minutes and GFHS athletes have to wait till Valley athletes finish their practice time in the pool.

Morris says it makes her days and her athlete’s days at least 14 hours long. Her hardest struggles are not having all sports equipment in the same spot. Having polo and swim equipment at Valley and then having things in her classroom at Godinez, means if she ever forgets anything at Valley or at Godinez she won’t have the stuff with her to practice.

Currently, Godinez has close to 2,500 students and that number has held steady year after year while enrollment in other SAUSD high schools has declined. Yet, Godinez goes without sports facilities needed to serve their athletes fully and completely.