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More mature Tigers team expects success

With its largest ever senior class, including possibly the program’s first two college players, the Chilton County soccer team this year is expecting its most successful season yet.

The Tigers began their campaign on Tuesday with a 3-0 loss at Calera.

“The first half we played them a good game; we were only down 1-0,” coach Dan Velasquez said. “But I was happy with them. We had a new goalie, Casey Brand, and he had about 12 saves.”

Among the team’s six seniors are Brand, defender Hunter Bennett and forward Noe Chavez, the leading scorer from one year ago with 12 goals in 10 games, including four goals in a 7-1 win over Shades Mountain.

Bennett has attended camps at Faulkner University, and Chavez participated in a camp at Auburn University-Montgomery this past weekend.

And Velasquez said Chavez performed quite well.

“He was probably in the top 3 high school players there,” Velasquez said. “I’m just so proud of these young men because, when they come up with you…I can’t tell you how it makes me feel as a coach to have a college looking at them.”

Chavez is CCHS’s best offensive player, but in the fall he surpassed last year’s goal total by scoring 17 points as the kicker for the football team.

“I was real excited about him doing that,” Velasquez said and explained how his success on the gridiron translates into more appreciation for the soccer team.

If more members of the CCHS community come out to watch soccer games this year, they will probably see an impressive product on the Tiger Stadium field.

Velasquez pointed to the maturity, both mentally and physically, of this year’s squad.

Velasquez said he stresses character and schoolwork, and Bennett’s and Chavez’s grades are part of the reason colleges are interested.

The Tigers are also bigger and stronger. Velasquez said CCHS should be better offensively in part because the passing should be more precise and also because, with more height, the attack should include more headers.

CCHS continues its season Thursday when the Tigers visit Marbury.