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Season Preview: Boys' And Girls' Soccer Teams Make Goals for Their Season And On the Field

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

The Varsity boys' soccer team plays at home in Cy Dillon Stadium. (Photo by Emily Southern)

By Emily Southern--Eagle Staff Writer

The spring sports season is in full swing, and to properly prepare, the boys and girls soccer teams are off to a strong start and hopeful for this season.

Their journey to the goalie box began with tryouts for both teams, which brought in record numbers of interested players.

“The entire girls soccer program had a big turnout for tryouts,” began Maryann Hodges, girls’ soccer coach. “The middle school had more than 35 girls come out for their team and the JV and Varsity tryout had more than 40 girls.”

The boys soccer team had this same result.

“Tryouts were very competitive this year. We had about 60 players try out for JV and Varsity. 40 players made the team,” coach Brian McClung reported. “My coaching staff and I had a very difficult time selecting the team this year.”

Once the teams were decided, coaches turned their attention toward building on last season's lessons. For McClung, he hopes that having a full team roster will allow the boys’ soccer team to make even bigger moves than before. He shared that last season the boys tied their last game with one minute left, even though they were down two players.

“We played most of the game a man down,” McClung recalled. “We were tied 1-1 when a second player of ours was ejected. [Lord Botetourt] scored to make it 2-1. On a last second throw-in, we were able to tie the score even playing 2 men short. The game ended in a draw.”

The biggest accomplishment for the girl’s soccer team was gaining ground over former opponents.

“The team improved a lot from the beginning of last season to the end. We lost to most teams the first time we faced them. By the time we saw each opponent again we either beat them or kept the game much closer and more competitive. These girls have a lot of heart and always give 100%,” exclaimed Hodges.

Doing this took drive and determination by the players, as soccer is both a physical sport and a mental challenge.

“I am expecting the mental toughness to find a way to win the tough games,” McClung explained. “I am also striving to have all of our players improve as soccer players and end the season healthy."

Learning from experience and growing as a group are priorities for the teams, too.

Team players rest as they continue to cheer on their teammates. (Photo by Emily Southern)

“Last season I learned how to be a good teammate,” commented junior Jordan Hering, defense wearing 13. “All of the guys last year were great. I am going to carry that attitude over into this season. I am expecting all of us to play hard and get some wins along the way.”

The same expectations apply to the girls’ soccer team, which is trying to get back into the swing of things after COVID created some rough patches in last year’s season. However, Hodges has big plans to raise her team to the top.

“We are looking to have a competitive season this go around. We have 14 returners and we are expecting to do well and make the regional tournament. I am also looking to my younger players to see how they can further be developed so we don't miss a beat when our 8 seniors graduate in May,” said Hodges. “Our goals are to improve the quality of play produced by each player in the girls' soccer program and to help prepare athletes to play at the collegiate level if desired.”

Both coaches and student-athletes have high hopes for this season, and not just for winning games.

“This season I hope every player shows continuous respect and effort toward the game and their fellow team players,” stated junior Sophia Labrake, midfielder wearing 2.

As the season progresses, players and coaches alike understand the goal is always the same: to not only make it to the state tournament and respect the game, but to put in effort and improve their play.

Fans interested in going to the girls' or boys' games this year can see the teams' schedules below.

The boys' soccer season began in early March, but there are still several games left for Eagles to attend. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

Just like the boys, the girls' season runs through early March until mid May. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

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