The movie "Coming Home" depicted the overwhelming problems encountered by a returning Vietnam veteran, played by actor Bruce Dern. Rich Manning and Steve Sampson are also coming home this weekend and may encounter just as many problems as Dern did.
Sampson, an assistant soccer coach at UCLA the past four years, is now the head coach at Santa Clara. And Manning, from Crespi High in Encino, is Santa Clara's best player. They may be in far over their heads tonight at 7:30 at North Campus Stadium against Cal State Northridge, which reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs last season and battled defending Division I champion UCLA to a 1-1 tie last weekend.
Including Manning, Santa Clara fields only four seniors. The rest of the team is made up almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores. The Broncos were 8-13 last year, and with an early schedule that includes powerhouses Northridge, Loyola, UCLA and Nevada Las Vegas, the immediate future doesn't appear too bright.
"I know quite a bit about Northridge from my years at UCLA," said Sampson, who has only been working with his team since Aug. 13. "I know their personnel and I know coach Marwan Ass'ad. He has a very fine team, a very well-respected team. Northridge is a team we will respect very highly going into the match. It's a team that could easily be playing Division I soccer and could compete quite well at that level."