Tigers on the pitch — season kicks off on Feb. 1

Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County High School gets its soccer season underway as the Tigers return to the pitch for the 2024 season with high expectations, and experience on their side.

The varsity boys team, led by head coach Brandon Gurganus, boasts 16 seniors on their roster for the upcoming season, enough to fill the starting 11 and have five subs worth of seniors. The experience comes with a lot of familiarity between one another as many of the players have been in the program since their early high school years.

“We feel good about (the experience), and these guys have been playing together for a while, and three (players) I started coaching when they were in the eighth grade when they got to play some varsity soccer then,” Gurganus said. “Almost all of these kids, aside from some of the transfers we have had, played and even started as ninth graders. We put eight to nine freshmen out on the field and went toe-to-toe with schools, and hopefully this year we can see how these kids actually compete against kids their own age.”

There will be nothing that CCHS will see this season that they have not seen before, and Gurganus hopes the team will be prepared for it when the time comes. Three of the 16 seniors — Jorge Castillo, Gentry Elmore and Miguel Gomez, will bring a lot of positivity and stability to the middle of the park for the Tigers. The team also adds Tomas Bores Soler, a foreign exchange student from Spain, to give them some European experience in the squad as well.

“We have the talent, and our kids can play,” Gurganus said. “These kids have taken the lumps earlier in their career, and for our guys it is more about getting past the name on the jersey of the opponent, and if we do, I think we will be okay.”

Gurganus sang the praises of the YMCA of Chilton County’s soccer program being introduced to Chilton County and the impact it has made in the time it has been around. He said it has been important to the county to have the YMCA program here, which has produced players in the Tigers’ program now, and helps CCHS grow their program overall.

The Chilton County varsity girls team will also get their season started on Feb. 1 in the school’s season opener on the road at Alabama Christian Academy in Montgomery, kicking off at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity boys following after. The Tigers’ home opener is Feb. 3 hosting Demopolis High School with the varsity girls kicking off at 12:30 p.m., followed by the varsity boys.

Both teams have multiple tournaments during the season as well, and will play in a Class 6A area with Calera and Benjamin Russell high schools to decide who moves on to the postseason in 2024.

“I would really love for the community to come out and support these guys and girls,” Gurganus said. “Everyone knows about softball, baseball, basketball and football, but these kids work really hard and it is really a fun sport to watch. They get after it, and this team has a chance, if things go our way, to be pretty special.”