April 13, 2014

College soccer team would bring local talent together

Dreams of combining the best soccer players from all local high schools into one team finally could come true.

Dalton State College received the green light from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to begin building men’s and women’s soccer programs toward an inaugural season in fall 2015.

Six boys teams reached the Georgia High School Association state playoffs a year ago and a record seven could make it this season. Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield all reached the Class 4A state semifinals a year ago and Dalton beat Southeast in an all-local title match.

For a few years, soccer has been the best sport for the majority of schools in Murray and Whitfield counties in terms of state-level contending. But the possibility of seeing the best players converge into one college team never existed — until Dalton State.

While men’s basketball has been labeled the flagship sport for Dalton State athletics, which relaunched this school year after a three-decade absense, soccer certainly could be the sport bringing the most championships and national recognition. The next step is finding suitable coaches to turn great players into a great team. It won’t be as simple as just rolling the ball onto the field and letting the magic happen at the college level, but whoever coaches will have a whole lot to work with right away.

We’re still a year and a half away from the first match, but it’s something to anticipate.

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