Seeking Glory: Soccer Dubs Notch Convincing 3-to-0 Victory in Playoffs Round One  

Lockdown Defense: Senior fullback Michael Garcia, also a team captain, came up big defenisvely in the team’s 3-to-1 round one playoff victory over South Effingham on March 15.

For the North Atlanta Boys Soccer team, an afternoon practice on Tuesday, April 19 – a session punctuated by some rocking 80s-era metal tunes from a loudspeaker posted on the sidelines – was one of warm afternoon sun and some smiles. The prevailing mood was light and for the second successive year, the team is in the midst of a playoff run. Team coaches allow for the playing of loudspeaker music to mark the extra season – which is why Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was impressively blaring – and the team was now in its second week of playoff sessions in the wake of a 3 to 0 dominating round one playoff win at home on April 15 against South Effingham. In that game, all three goals came at the foot of striker Jordin Chavez, the team’s most prolific scorer who has put 15 goals into the back of the net during the 2022 season as he and his teammates notched a 12-6-1 regular season record. 

While the team didn’t secure a region crown as the 2021 Dubs did, this year’s squad did earn a second-in-region status. Program coaches said they were pleased with how the team kept up their focus as players navigated another challenging season in the talent-rich 6A Region 4. “It’s a team that’s been marked by a lot of tenacity and high-level play. We were really glad to have some key veterans come back, not to mention a nice infusion of new talent to replace some key team cogs who graduated last year,” said program head coach Epimenio Jimenez. “We’ve had some obstacles so we have to be happy about how the team handled itself when we really needed wins.” 

The mood during this week’s Tuesday practice was light but matters quickly turned to focused drills that emphasized counterattacks and passing channels in the attacking third. The team will need plenty of focus for playoff Round 2 and its match on Thursday, April 21 is against Lassister, a Marietta-based perennial power that finished its season wtih a 15-2 record and a second-in-region standing. “We know we have our work cut out for us, to be sure. But we always tell the boys that if they stay within themselves and stay within our style of play and take advantage of our chances, then we can get the result that we want,” said program coach Chris Mucha. 

The Lassiter game – which starts late at 8 p.m. – looms as an even bigger challenge because the Dubs play at Lassister where the Trojans only lost one game all year. “We have our work cut out for us and things have never been easy for us all season long,” said junior midfielder Diego Fonseca, who also is a team captain. “But the greater the challenge the greater the glory, right?” 

During Tuesday’s practice, the evening sun was casting a golden tone over the entirely ideal playing atmosphere with the 11-stories of the North Atlanta building standing dramatically in the distance. Players went through their drills with heightened focus and questions hung over the whole event. Will the Dubs advance – or will the season come abruptly to and end after Thursday’s game? Will the team’s seniors be able to extend their last season? “It just depends on how much we want it – and maybe also things will need to go our way,” said junior fullback and team captain Brent Shannon. 

Play on Dubs! Go hard to win. And above all: “Go Fuerte!”