Godinez Welcomes a New Cheer Coach

GFHS cheerleaders practice stunts after school back on the mats after recruiting a new team.

Kimberly Castro

GFHS cheerleaders practice stunts after school back on the mats after recruiting a new team.

Kimberly Castro, Staff Writer

After quite a lengthy delay, the Godinez Fundamental High School (GFHS) cheerleaders received good news. In November of 2021, the school welcomed Alexys Soto, the official new cheer coach. 

COVID-19 had a significant impact on all sports, including cheerleading. 

For a long time, there was no coach for the cheer team. Throughout this difficult journey, they faced numerous challenges such as learning new routines, adjusting to an environment with no coach, and new members. Both cheer captains took over coaching duties during practice.

In October, cheer tryouts took place over several days. Because so many girls tried out, only a few made the final cut. 

Both the new cheerleaders and Coach Soto encountered great news to start off the school year. 

Soto began cheerleading when she was eleven years old and continued until her first year of college at Cal State University at Fullerton (CSUF). 

She is currently at school pursuing a degree in nursing. 

“I am a nursing student in addition to being a cheer coach. There are so many options in nursing, but I’d love to work in labor and delivery and with children in pediatrics,” said Soto.

At CSUF, Soto had to make a tough choice her freshman year in college.  

The new cheer coach at Godinez, Alexys Soto. (Alexys Soto)

“I had to give up cheering in college since it was very difficult to balance both as a nursing student, so I decided to focus only on my education,” said Soto. 

Soto is an alum of GFHS and was a cheerleader so she reflects on her experience of being the cheerleading coach.

“It’s been an incredible honor to coach at my alma mater. I used to be a Godinez cheerleader, and now that I’m a coach, it’s been a pleasure to mentor students and form a team,” gushed Soto.

Soto recalls making memories and having new experiences as a Godinez cheerleader, and now she gets to help the students do the same. 

“I’m delighted to share, teach, and be a role model for the team, and I’m carrying all I’ve learned from my time as a cheerleader.  I know the squad was looking forward to having a coach and getting back into learning and it brings me joy to be able to bring smiles to the team’s faces as a result of their eagerness to practice and learn,” said Soto. 

Soto does have goals for the 2021-22 school year for her team. 

They are focused on STUNT and working on new routines with the team. But because of their delay to the season, they are trying their best to do more routines. Overall, her goal is to do STUNT and play friendly games with other schools

Soto admits that coaching during a pandemic is hard “since we are a contact sport. We do everything we can to stay safe and get the most out of our practice time.” 

This year, the squad practices three days a week and every practice the team continues to learn routines to prepare for STUNT. Throughout the week, they practice during sixth period athletics to 3:50 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Junior Ivan Manzo and Junior Melanie Rodriguez are two students who were recruited recently and each have different views on how cheer has been going. 

Rodriguez has been cheerleading for three years now. 

But, for Manzo, it’s his first time cheering. 

“For me, everything is new. The stunting, the cheers, and the dances are all new to me especially since I barely started,” said Manzo.

However, both Manzo and Rodriguez continue to practice stunting despite how hard it is. 

“The stunts are challenging but I did not have previous experience from freshman year. We all have new stunt routines that are new to all of us,” said Rodriguez.

Within the last months the surge of Omicron cases in our district has made it more difficult to practice on the mats while maintaining social distance. 

“I feel good about returning because I missed my teammates and the great bond we have,” added Rodriguez. 

Despite COVID measures, the cheer team is getting back into their daily routine and having fun.

Even though they have been a team for a couple of months now, the cheer team has performed in the winter pep rally and cheers at many sporting events including basketball.

And, they are very appreciative that they have a coach.

 “I really admire her and that she took the job of being our coach. She is sweet and really pushes us to be the best that we can be,” concluded Manzo.