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For the first time since it began playing boys soccer in its third year of operation in 2003, Community Christian School will not field a team this season.
CCS athletic director Bryan Walker said that only three high school players showed up for the first three days of tryouts and four middle school players, including two sixth-graders, who planned to play.
“I just said I had to pull the plug on the season,” Walker said, “because that’s not enough for a team.”
The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association conference to which CCS belongs, the 1-A/2-A Coastal Independents Conference, prohibits sixth graders from playing in conference games, Walker said.
“I hate it,” Walker said. “I do hate it that we’re not going to put a team together this year because our community is all about soccer. It was a shock that we weren’t going to have a team this year.”
Low numbers were a problem for the Cyclones last season, Walker said, with just 11 full-time soccer players on the roster. However, seven members of the CCS seven-player football team agreed to join the team for home matches.
“If it wasn’t for the football players last year, we wouldn’t have had a team. But this year, it kind of caught up to us a little bit,” Walker said.
However, five of the 11 full-time soccer players graduated and others opted not to play this season, Walker said. Furthermore, none of the football players this season had soccer backgrounds or were interested in trying to play a new sport.
“What’s crazy is our enrollment’s up,” Walker said. “We’ve got a lot of new kids this year.”
The soccer Cyclones were going to be coached by former Fike High and Barton College standout Fernando Guzman, the older brother of CCS junior forward Salvador Guzman. The younger Guzman, who will kick for the Cyclones football team, was joined by junior Ian Dixon and senior Noah Moran as the only high school players at tryouts.
Walker expressed optimism that the Cyclones would be back in action next year.
ROTARY CUP CHANGES
The immediate fallout is that the Rotary Cup tournament will change for its eighth edition. Rotary spokesman Connor Bedgood said a replacement was sought for CCS but none could be found on such short notice. Bedgood said that there will not be an overall winner but matches will still be played at Gillette Soccer Complex on Aug. 14, 16 and 18 with Beddingfield, Fike, Hunt, Greenfield and Wilson Christian still participating.
The revised schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Field No. 2: Fike vs. Wilson Christian, 6 p.m.
Field No. 3: Hunt vs. Greenfield, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 16
Field No. 2: Greenfield vs. Beddingfield, 6 p.m.
Field No. 3: Wilson Christian vs. Hunt, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 18
Field No. 2: Beddingfield vs. Wilson Christian, 6 p.m.
Field No. 3: Fike vs. Greenfield, 7 p.m.
FIKE NIGHT RELAYS SHELVED
Another recent fall sports institution will take off 2018 as new Fike cross-country coach Cheryl Gardner announced that the Fike Night Relays will be shelved this year.
Gardner was named as the replacement for Greg Yarbrough late in July, leaving her little time to organize the multi-team relay event that has been held under the lights at Gillette. Gardner said she and Fike athletic director Tom Nelson, who also started his duties in July, arrived at the decision after discussing the logistics with Yarbrough.
“We will pick it back up next year,” she said.
The event was started in 2012 by then head coach Tom Griffith and continued for three years under Yarbrough. It took a year off in 2015 when Yarbrough stepped down but he brought it back in 2016 and 2017.