By: Lee Ramsey
Spring is just around the corner and so is the Seymour Eagles boys’ Soccer season.
In a recent practice you could feel the anticipation and excitement as the team scrimmaged each other in a very spirited half field drill.
After winning the 2-AAA district title last season in their first year in the IMAC Conference and with a first year head coach, expectations are high even though the team lost 7 starters to graduation.
In his second year as the Eagles’ head soccer coach, Drew Payne said, “Everyone expects this to be rebuilding year. For all intents and purposes it is. We graduated 7 starters and we only have 2 seniors coming back. Yea, we’re a young team. If you want to use that term ‘rebuilding’ it’s probably a good time to use it.”
The Eagles will be young but talented.
“We have a really good freshman class coming up,” Payne said. “They’re stepping up every day in practice.”
Freshman who should see a lot of playing time according to Payne are Jake McBriar at center-mid, Brice Jones at goal keeper, and Jacob Lewis-Jones may start in the back position replacing junior Jonathan Hurst who had to quit due to personal reasons.
“We’re having to reshuffle some things and part of the reshuffling has to do with Jonathan (Hurst) leaving the team and replacing him with a freshman (Jacob Lewis-Jones),” Payne said. “Having to start freshmen is definitely a different situation. Brice Jones, a freshman, is competing with junior Ryan Broom for goal keeper.”
There are four seniors on the team; Corbin Marine, Brandon Slaybaugh, Matt Kiser and Alex Horton. The first three should start while Alex Horton will be high in the rotation.
Coach Payne seems to be very pleased with the way practice has gone so far during the preseason.
“I will say this: preseason has been phenomenal,” he said. “The guys have been coming along really well. The rebuilding has taken a different turn. We’re gaining a lot of confidence and eventually we feel like we can forget that word (rebuilding).”
Although young, the confidence level on this team is very high. Scrimmages will start soon. As far as the coaches and players are concerned, they can’t come soon enough.
“We’re anxious to get started. We’ve been preseason for a while. We’ve been working hard and the guys have been learning a lot. We’re ready to get started,” Payne said. “Regardless of being young, the fact that we won the district last year is definitely a confidence booster.
“The thought last year was that we were the small school and we’re the only ones moving up and we were going to be a little timid. Well, we won the district and now that timidness is gone.
“So, regardless of whether we are rebuilding or not, we have a degree of confidence.”
Young team or not, the entire IMAC will be gunning for the Eagles after they won the district last year. The wind always blows hardest at the top of the flag pole.
“We’re definitely not overconfident or cocky,” Payne added. “We’ve got to stay level headed. I think we’re doing a good job keeping an even keel. We are very anxious to get started.”
The Eagles first season game will be March 15 at home against Cocke County. There will be an alumni game on March 10 at home and the first scrimmage will be against Halls away.
Seymour Soccer Readies for Opener
By: Lee Ramsey