March 22, 2014

Soccer program urged for DSC

The Daily Citizen

— Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh announced the school recently proposed to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia adding men’s and women’s soccer.

Considering the high level of soccer players on high school and recreational teams in Murray and Whitfield counties, The Daily Citizen believes this is the correct step in growing the Dalton State athletics offerings.

In 2013, a record six high school boys soccer teams from the two counties reached the state playoffs. Three of them — Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield — reached the Class 4A semifinals, with Dalton defeating Southeast in the state championship. The year before, four boys teams reached the quarterfinals of their respective classifications, the most of any year for this area.

And this season, seven boys teams at one point were ranked in the coaches polls for each of the six classifications.

Dalton State could offer scholarships just to seniors from schools in Murray and Whitfield counties and field a competitive team right away. In fact, if high school success means anything, it shouldn’t take long before the Roadrunners are national title contenders in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

And the girls side should be just as solid, with nearby Heritage-Catoosa a high school power each season. Plus, Dalton made the state tournament in 2012 and Northwest did the same in 2013, proving there are female soccer players nearby worthy of competing at the next level.

After Dalton State relaunched athletics with nine sports for the 2013-2014 school year — anchored by men’s basketball and women’s volleyball — many wondered when the college would add the sport to its catalog. Now that the Roadrunners are going all-in on soccer, we hope the Board of Regents accepts the proposal and allows Northwest Georgia, the king of soccer in Georgia, to become just as noteworthy on the national scale.