College Corner: Angela Morales, and Beach soccer, go viral

This hasn’t been a season of high points for the Long Beach State women’s soccer team. The defending Big West champions are just 4-11 overall, and at 2-4 in the Big West are currently on the outside looking in at the conference tournament.

But redshirt freshman Angela Morales had her “one shining moment” last week in a win over UC Riverside. Morales had a pair of assists in the game, but it was a juke she had on the right sideline, a spinning nutmeg to blow past a defender, that has earned her the national spotlight.

Angela Morales. Photo courtesy of Long Beach State Soccer.

Long Beach State sports information director Tyler Hendrickson watched the play unfold live and was impressed by it. After the game, he took a clip of the play from the school’s Beach Vision broadcast of the game and put it up on the Long Beach State soccer Twitter account, where it quickly went viral.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 30, the clip Hendrickson posted had been seen more than 433,000 times and was shared by Yahoo, Bleacher Report and the NCAA Soccer Twitter account. ESPN’s soccer account (@ESPNFC) posted it as well and it’s been viewed more than 830,000 times on their feed, where it was recently shared by FIFA’s official account, which has more than 3 million followers.

Here’s the ESPN FC version with a bit of slo mo that allows you to truly appreciate the move. Word to the wise, play it with the sound up; the commentators’ reactions really rounds out the whole experience.

In all, Morales’ move has been seen more than 1.26 million times on Twitter. That’s not bad for a player on a team that has an average attendance of 603 fans per game.

By comparison, Long Beach State’s tweet announcing that the men’s volleyball team had won last year’s NCAA championship also contained a video, and it got a little more than 13,000 views.

NCAA Caves

This couldn’t possibly come as less of a surprise to us, but the NCAA is caving to California on the subject of athletes being compensated for their likeness and name. Currently, any athlete signing an NCAA scholarship signs away their right to do that, so athletes can’t have monetized Youtube accounts, endorsement deals, paid autographs, etc.

California was the first to move on this issue with Senate Bill 206, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Opponents, including Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee, worried publicly that the NCAA would respond by exiling the California schools, since SB206 would make state law in direct contradiction to the NCAA’s eligibility rules.

Instead, a host of other states immediately introduced essentially the exact same legislation. Backed into a corner, the NCAA is caving and will allow athletes across the country to retain the same rights that all other American citizens have, beginning in 2021.

California deserves major credit for leading on this issue, which will have impacts both large and small on the college landscape.

It’s not likely to make big waves in Long Beach. The basketball players at Long Beach State aren’t going to be getting the same calls from Gatorade that players from Duke will, and we obviously don’t have a football team. It does open the door for players like Morales to strike while the iron is hot. If Nike Soccer likes that clip on Twitter, there will soon be nothing preventing them from tossing Morales a few grand for the rights to use her highlight in a commercial.

Alan Knipe Honored

Long Beach State men’s volleyball coach Alan Knipe helped steer his program to back-to-back NCAA titles over the last two seasons, the first time that’s ever happened at the university. Among the many accolades that have come his way as a result was a special one earlier this week. Knipe was recognized by the Ronald McDonald House as part of their Few Good Men dinner.

Vikings Football Thrills in Win

LBCC football: still in first place in their conference.

The Vikings had a thriller last Saturday on the road in Bakersfield, a place not known for thrills (at least not the good kind).

After trailing for the entire game, the Vikings scored a game-winner with 42 seconds left as quarterback Derrach West ran in a five-yard touchdown to give LBCC a 23-20 win.

LBCC (5-2, 2-0) will host Moorpark at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 2 for the team’s Veterans Appreciation Game.

Gloomy Predictions For Long Beach State Basketball

Around this time of year, we start getting really excited for Long Beach State basketball. It looks like we might be the only ones.

The Big West Conference released its preseason media and coaches’ polls earlier this week, and the outlooks are gloomy at the Beach. The men’s basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the nine-team Big West, and the women’s team was picked eighth.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.
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