On Friday, October 16, 17 Cascade Christian Challengers will compete in boys soccer against the Crater Comets. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of Challengers coach Javier De La Mora, along with coaches from North and South Medford, Phoenix, Hidden Valley, Crater, Grants Pass and Eagle Point, eight local high schools will be taking advantage of “Season One,” provided by the OSAA. Barring the unforeseen, boys and girls soccer will have regular league play in the spring as part of “Season Three,” a portion of the calendar set aside for fall sports such as boys and girls soccer, football, volleyball and cross country. That season will get underway Feb. 22, following the conclusion of “Season Two,” which is for winter sports.
The Challengers have a new coach, and a new look team. Only four players return from 2019: Seniors Isaac Armstrong, Ryan Crowl, Jonny McCoy, and junior Brandon Parker. They will have reinforcements coming from the upper class ranks, as Solomon and Samuel Hewitt have transferred to Cascade from the home school ranks. Also on hand will be seniors- all with some measure of soccer experience- Anders Meilicke, Levi Sciapiti, and Nathan Spurlock.
Bolstering the Challengers are a promising group of freshmen. Colsen Brown, Josh Clark, Nikhil Joseph, Mikey Melvin, Jonah Parker, Ike Preszler, Nathan Snyder, and Dylan Westlake will all see playing time, and provide building blocks for the future of the program.
Nine games are planned, concluding in enough time for multi-sport athletes to prepare for winter sports. The games will be traditional 11 v 11 soccer with referees and all that you would expect from a typical high school game, however none these contests are anything more than what are called “friendlies” in the soccer world. It will be a great chance for younger or less experienced players to gain valuable training and skills before the spring.
OHA and OSAA policies will make some aspects of the competition different. A parent meeting is planned for Thursday following practice at 5pm to discuss what some of that will look like.
Soccer isn’t the only game in town. A 7 on 7 passing league is slated for football, and there are other opportunities for athletes to participate in their sports of choice.