Dalton Academy Shocks the World With Soccer Title in First Year With a Team
Dalton Academy, the carpet capital’s newest high school, did what many thought impossible this year. The Pumas won a state championship — in their first year of existence. News 12’s Angela Moryan has the story.
Said Yehia Hussain/Centerback: “If you’ve seen it from the beginning, it’s crazy. It’s like a little movie. It could be on Netflix.”
Call it ‘Debut like Dalton’ — Counted out as the brand new, small school overshadowed by its bigger, nationally-ranked brothers, the Pumas proved everyone wrong and won the state championship.
Said Asher Griffith: “It is unbelievable, and people keep coming up to us saying, ‘Oh, we knew you could do it!’ I didn’t know we could do it until the last second had run off the clock at the state championship.”
Said head Rury Alvarez/Head Coach: “People are like, ‘Oh, you saw this coming. Did you see yourself here?’ Heck no. I was a blind man going into a cave. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
How could he, when all but one player on the team had never played high level organized soccer before…
Said Hussain: “Everybody came from the dirt, literally. We’ve seen it all. We’ve had every single problem, every single road block you could see.”
Said Alvarez: “In the semifinal, they wanted to move our game to a Thursday-Saturday. Well, the issue was, our goalkeeper had an immigration meeting on Thursday, and on Saturday, 75 percent of my team’s working, so it’s hard. I can’t imagine going through the things that these boys have gone through… We have a bunch of migrant workers, hardworking people that came over to give their families a better future, and they have. A lot of these guys are like myself, who use the game of soccer to give ourselves a better education.”
Said Griffith: “They come from humble beginnings. They’re grateful for everything they receive, so when you take a group like that, they’re malleable, and you can build something out of them. So really, I think coming from nothing was the best thing that we could do…. The boys that we have and the boys that we will have coming in, with the coaching that we have and the culture that we have, this won’t be the last, I believe very strongly, and it might next year, but I don’t believe that this is the last state championship that the Dalton Academy is going to see.”