Lee-Scott Girls Soccer Looks at Last Season for Direction

The photo above was taken from last year's Maddie McClendon game at Lee-Scott Academy. PHOTO BY ROBERT NOLES / THE OBSERVER

By Wil Crews


The Lee-Scott varsity girls’ soccer team is looking to the model set by last year’s state championship winning side as the team works its way through the beginning of the 2022 schedule.

“Last year I had no expectation because we were so young, and then throughout the season we just started figuring it out,” said head coach Eric Faison. “There is no pressure on this team to be last year’s team, but it’s the same situation of having a lot of players who can be good once we figure it out. It could be a rebuilding year, it could be something like last year that comes out of nowhere.”

Through three games, the Warriors began their season an even 1-1-1. Against powerhouse Tuscaloosa Academy last week, Lee-Scott was rocked with an 8-2 defeat; However, Faison won’t let his team linger on that feeling for long.

“I’m not even worried about that loss,” Faison said. “They were full of older players, they have like four college commits and like two-thirds of our lineup is ninth grade and below.”

To help combat the inexperience and youth on his team, Faison said he has turned to a core group of three girls who make up the Warrior’s midfield: senior Cheyenne Butler, junior Blair Pelham and freshman Delaney Faison.

“Those are the three we have kind of built this whole team around,” Faison said.

“I’m telling them, ‘yall have to be the leaders, you have to organize the field, you have to organize during the game. Y’all kind of have to run this thing.’ So I’m kind of trying to build that into them.”

The Warriors also have confidence in their four-person defensive back line, in which Lee-Scott deploys two ninth graders and two eighth graders.

“All these girls that are eighth and ninth grade that start, they play year round,” Faison said. “We are just young.”

Although Faison said he hasn’t hammered down where everyone will play full-time, perhaps an area where the team’s youth shines through brightest is at the top of the offense where sixth grader (Yes, you read that right.) AJ Spillman leads the attack.

“She’s small but shifty and good, and legit earned a place among the players we have,” Faison said. “She’s scored one or two goal already. She fits right in. She’s too young to know any better. She’s not physically strong but quick and elusive. She’s too young to panic.”

With the ample amount of youth on this team, Faison reiterated how much growth his team can incur throughout the schedule. Getting into the playoffs, and peaking then, is the head coach’s chief concern.

“It’s kind of the same as last year,” he said. “I don’t think we were even .500 after the first half of the season. My goal this year is figure it out in the process of the season, and peak when we go into the playoffs. I think chemistry and putting people where they can play their best is going to be important.”


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