Kicking off Into a Great Season: The Start of Boys Soccer


The 2023 varsity boys soccer team.

Lyvia Huang and Rasesh Joshi

With tryouts taking place soon after Winter Break, Chamblee’s boy’s soccer team is preparing for the upcoming season. Coaches and prospective players are working hard to make this season the best it can be, and making state playoffs is a major goal in mind.

“[Our main goal for this year is] to win a state championship,” says Dean Payne (‘25). “The highest achievement that we can accomplish should be our goal.”

As the coach for the Boy’s soccer team, Dr. Emad Francis, believes that the soccer team should strive to represent themselves well and enjoy the sport that they play.

“[Our first goal is] to represent champions. The second is to get in shape and have fun,” said Dr. Francis. “What’s important is being a model academically and athletically and having a good time playing soccer. And definitely winning.”

Before the team members can focus on that though, they must work on fundamentals and ensure that knowledge is being passed down so that there are players to replace the seniors once they graduate.

“My main goal this season is to unify the team, to rectify old mistakes and issues that the boys faced last year. I have been trying to restructure the team and encourage more students to join, especially freshmen, so they can learn from the seniors,” said Emad Francis, head coach of Chamblee’s boy’s soccer team.

Francis, along with the other coaches, will be looking for those freshmen from January 9th-11th, when tryouts will be held. There are two main factors that determine whether a potential player will make the team.

“During tryouts, we look for players who are in shape, and it’s also important for them to be committed. We need commitment. We need them to enjoy soccer,” said Francis.

Currently, soccer conditioning is being held after school twice a week to ensure that players are in shape and prepared for tryouts. 

“Right now, I’m trying to get all the students to come to conditioning so that they’re ready for tryouts. After tryouts, we’ll have more intensive practice so that they’re ready for the field. The goal is for our players to be successful and perform the best they can,” said Francis.

Players must be in shape to be able to perform well, and a piece of advice that many veteran players emphasize is to condition and get fit before tryouts. 

“My advice to new players is to get fit early, so you can spend all your time actually practicing. Because running sucks,” said Grant Polk (‘23).

Those who have been on Chamblee’s soccer team before also advise new players to connect with the team to further a strong team bond. 

“Don’t be selfish, and talk to other people on the team. Last year, the team dynamic was good. We can improve on it this season, though, and we need to pass the ball more,” said Dean Payne (‘25), who was on the JV team last year.

As previously mentioned, both the varsity and JV teams hope to qualify for the state playoffs this season. Being able to accomplish this would be a testament to the players’ hard work; it would demonstrate that the time and effort they put in paid off. Each player also has position-specific goals to focus on. 

“This season, I hope we make the state playoffs since we haven’t qualified in a while. I also want us to have a clean sheet and a 3-0 shutout every game. That means no goals are scored against your team, so as a defender, that’s my job,” said Payne.

Freshmen, who are trying out for the first time, want to show that although they’re younger, they’re just as capable as older students, and they have objectives of their own to work toward.

“Just because you make the team doesn’t mean you start, so my goal is to start on the field. I’m looking forward to winning games and just playing soccer as a whole,” said Owen Legg (‘26).

Despite the long hours and tiring work put in, most seniors in their last year of Chamblee soccer consider their experiences on the Chamblee team to have been positive overall.

“Being in Chamblee soccer has been fun. I’ve made some friends and made a lot of memories,” said Polk.

At the end of the day, the most important thing for players to have is determination. That’s what the coaches are looking for, and that’s what will get the team to the state playoffs.

As Eli Ritchey (‘25), a second-year Chamblee soccer player, said, “Don’t slack.”

With this, Dr. Francis envisions a bright future for his soccer players as most of them will be graduating this year.

“I see most of [the soccer players] in good universities, carrying soccer in their hearts and continuing to join university soccer teams,” said Dr. Francis. “Chamblee will always be in their hearts and their memories.”

Senior varsity players Ben Gilboa and Grant Polk, courtesy of the Chamblee men’s soccer Instagram.