Students Excitement Soars for Winter Sports


Morgan Hunt

A winter field

Morgan Hunt, Opinions Editor

The crowd is rumbling with excitement, anticipating a soccer match against a well known rival. The night lights brighten the field as the soccer team makes its way down to the field as their cleats pound onto the concrete steps. The ref blows the whistle, and everything begins.

Sixty-six boys and 65 girls signed up to try out for the soccer team this year. But, only 20 player varsity squads were created on both the girls and boys teams (with the rest of the players on the junior varsity or frosh team).

Senior Varsity Captain Emily Fitzgerald said, “Going into high school I never thought not playing high school soccer was an option. My club team takes a break during that time, so it was just perfect.”

Fitzgerald said that she likes the soccer environment because it gives her a break from the competitive club soccer environment. She said that it is also fun being able to play with friends from school. 

Senior Evan Manolis agrees with this statement, “I think the school environment is great. I think that intensity is always really high at practices and everybody really wants to win and play hard and nobody’s really looking to just sit on the bench. 

Sophomore Eliza Hammond said, “I’m playing with the best players I’ve ever played with and that definitely pushes me to be competitive.”

Fitzgerald said that there is most likely a large amount of girls and boys playing high school soccer because people want to play competitively and have more experience. Especially with one of the most popular club teams, AFC becoming stronger over the past few years. 

Athletic Director Bradley Smet said, “I’ve seen and I’ve been a part of other schools that have had all three levels and kind of bigger programs, but some of that I feel ties into the size of the school. But the fact that we have 850 kids, you know, between Millennium and Piedmont, and the fact that we’re having 60-70 kids come try out is awesome.”

Smet said that their ultimate goal is to not cut any freshmen in any sports program since they are meant to be able to develop and have that exposure to high school sports. He also said that there are three teams on both the girls and boys side; frosh, junior varsity, and varsity. 

“So yes, the focus isn’t around just winning, right? We want to make sure it’s a fun atmosphere and it’s an enjoyable place for our kids. We don’t want to put the pressure that you have to win otherwise, the seasons a failure,” Smet said. 

Manolis said that having more people trying out for soccer only has positive benefits, it creates a better quality team. 

“This year, there’s a lot more technical players than there has been in the history of the program. And I think that  it’s a great addition to have players that have played club for the last 10 years and sort of have a feel for how the game should be played,” Manolis said. 

Manolis and Fitzgerald agree that they both have big expectations for this upcoming season and encourage people to come and watch some games since they will be competitive and fun to watch.

“It was just so fun watching the boys team and the community that came out for the NCS championship game last year. I want to be able to continue to build on that this year,” Smet said.