New goals at Swainsboro Middle School
by Emanuel County Live | April 1, 2014 2:37 pm
Football has always been a dominating sport here in South Georgia, but a new kind of “football” is becoming more and more popular: soccer. With the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Recreation Department adding soccer as one of their department sports, community focus on soccer has risen in the past few years.
A few parents at Swainsboro Middle School and Emanuel County including Chang Lin and Mark Haddock, have been trying to start a soccer program, and the plans came to fruition this season with a co-ed club team. The 19 students at Swainsboro Middle School (including one student from Adrian School of Performing Arts) practice Mondays and Wednesdays under the eye of Chandra Hooks and two assistant coaches, one of them being Chang Lin.
“We had tried before but weren’t able to get a head coach,” Lin says of starting a team. “You have to have a certified teacher with you to be a school team. This year, at SMS, we were able to get a teacher to help us. We’re still working on it for the high school.”
The SMS Club Team didn’t have enough students for a girls’ team and a boys’ team, but they are hoping to have enough next year. This year, however, the kids have played two games, one away and one home.
“This year, we started out as a club team, which is limited scheduling and budget-wise. Next year, we’ll be in the actual region and we’ll play division competition with area teams. We’ll have a full schedule,” says Lin.
The team is also hard at work raising funds for goal posts, equipment, and uniforms. “Since we’re a beginning program, we have to raise funds,” says Lin. “We should get a small budget next year, but right now, everything is fundraising.”
Uniforms for the team have been purchased through donations, and lots of equipment is being borrowed from the Recreation Department.
“We’ve been able to get the uniforms this year, but next year we’ll have to adhere to the guidelines for uniforms,” says Lin, describing how they’ll need two uniforms, one for home and one for away games, shin protectors, shorts, socks and other equipment.
“Parents love it,” Lin says. “They are involved and the kids are involved. Every kid that has played this year has played some time at the recreation department.”
Lin, Haddock and Susan Bowen have all coached at the recreation department during their soccer season, and are no stranger to coaching students. They are hoping to grow the program at Swainsboro Middle School next year to have a full-fledged girls’ team and boys’ team.
“We all love soccer, and there has always been a following for the sport,” says Lin.