Cougar teams under new leadershipBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
It’s safe to say that it’s a transition year for the Newton County soccer programs.
Both teams enter the season with new head coaches as Zac Foreman will coach the Newton County girls while Chad Bond will take the boys for the season.
For the Newton County girls, they are 2-3 on the season with a 3-1 win over Neshoba Central last week and a 10-0 win over Philadelphia on their resume. Their losses have been close with a 3-0 loss to Florence and West Jones and a 4-0 loss to Richland last week as well.
“We have gotten a few wins and are making some progress,” Foreman said. “I think we could make a lot of improvement. I think the biggest thing for us is learning how to play together. We are playing hard and playing physical. We just need to learn to score against better teams.”
Against Neshoba Central on Tuesday, senior Josie Hurst scored along with sophomore Katelynn Gipson and freshman Lanie Phillips.
“I think we are a strong defensive team and strong in the midfield,” Foreman said. “We are just lacking some offensive communication skills with how we move the ball forward as a unit. I think we play well defensively. If you look at our scores against the better teams, we are only giving up a few goals a game, we just aren’t scoring.”
Newton County boys
On the boys’ side, the Cougars are 1-3-1 with a 3-1 against Philadelphia and a 3-3 tie against Neshoba Central last week. The Cougars also lost 2-1 to Richland last week and have dropped a 4-0 decision to West Jones and a 6-0 contest to Florence to start the season out.
“We are improving daily,” Bond said. “We are working on improving as a team on and off the field. I think we have good team chemistry and they like playing together. We have a really big group of juniors and seniors this year. They are learning a lot of soccer right now.”
Bond said he is acting more as an administrative coach for the boys while getting on-the-field held from Chris Reed and Will Thompson, who is also coaching the junior varsity team.
“Chris is working them hard on the field and improving them as a soccer team,” Bond said. “We are learning how winning teams do things, how we handle ourselves, how we dress and learning to take care of the stuff that winning programs do. It’s a learning project and we are starting to get better results. We haven’t quite gotten over the hump yet but the early part of the schedule has been strong and we’ve played some quality teams so far. But I like what I am seeing results wise. We are getting better but it just hasn’t translated in the results we would like to see so far.”
Against Neshoba last week, Reed Gorgas scored with an assist by Joel Hill. Hill then got in on the actin with a goal and assist by Christian Valazquez. The last goal came from Andrew Phillips in the tie.
In a 2-1 loss to Richland, Valazquez scored the game’s only goal for Newton County with an assist coming from Skylar Porter.
“I really thing soccer is an up and coming sport at Newton County,” Bond said. “You aren’t competing with baseball and softball which are big communities around here. So, we are able to draw some of the better athletes. If you look at 4A, there are a lot of school similar to us, county schools that don’t have feeder programs. But you look at the schools like West Lauderdale, Florence and Richland that have those feeder programs and they have the better teams in the state. That’s just the way it is. You can’t just show up in seventh grade and expect to be a good soccer player. Right now, we have very few kids that play soccer outside of school, and that makes a big difference.”