Soccer Doesn’t Feel Like a Spring Sport For Many Georgia High Schools
Dalton, GA-(WDEF-TV) Soccer is a sport designed to be played in warm weather. After all the players wear shorts and a short sleeve jersey, but warm weather doesn’t exactly greet Georgia high school teams. Many schools started their season in January. Not exactly what you expect for a so-called spring sport.
Most coaches are excited to start practice for the new year, except maybe Georgia soccer coaches. First day of drills January 3rd.
Said Dalton head coach Matt Cheaves: “That date happened to be very cold and raw.”
Said Northwest Whitfield head coach Isael Guiterrez: “I believe that week it was in the mid 20’s the entire time for try-outs. We were just struggling. Doing the best we could do Most of it was just surviving.”
Dalton has somehow already played four matches, including one in the snow.
Said Cheaves: “It was against the Atlanta International School. We played here on Friday two weeks ago, and it just snowed. You looked up in the lights, and it looked like a blizzard coming down. It was pretty heavy for awhile. It dusted the field a little bit.”
Reporter: “How do you beat the cold?”
Said Dalton soccer player Fabian Rodriguez: “I just keep running. Just get warm from the heat that I produce.”
The phrase bench warmer is kind of false for soccer players this time of year.
Said Cheaves: “You have to consider very strongly putting the subs in because the boys are sitting in very thin shorts or warm-up pants on a metal bench in that weather. That’s making their muscles pretty cold. So you have to give them a pretty good warning before you sub them in.”
Tennessee high schools don’t start playing games until mid-March.
Said Guiterrez: “We’re playing a couple of teams in Tennessee this year. They say yeah, just wait til March 14th. We’re like that’s the end of our region there. I was like, what’s going on.”
Said Cheaves: “I would personally like to see it start a little bit later. And maybe compact the playoffs a little bit closer together. The playoffs last five weeks. You finish the regular season and you have a week off. And the next round you have a week off.”
Soccer in January and February is weird, but maybe not everywhere in Georgia.
Said Cheaves: “And also the conditions in South Georgia are quite different than North Georgia. I mean if you’re down there in Statesboro and Thomaston, you’ve got almost Florida weather.”