Many sports programs in the Gulf South Conference have been competing this spring. At Mississippi College, a few of the sports that have their season normally in the fall are participating this spring. One of those teams is the men’s soccer team.
The men’s soccer team just finished an undefeated spring regular season at 4-0 and won Group A in the GSC Soccer Spring Championship Series. The Choctaws have outscored their opponents seven to one in those four games.
Head coach Kevin Johns points to the defense as one of the team’s biggest reasons for success: “Defensively we are very good, we had a lot of players returning in that area and it has always been a strong part of our team.” He also points to having depth on the roster that understands how he wants to play defense and its importance to success. Johns added, “There is not that much coaching we have to do, we just have to let them play, and they have leadership qualities that know what they expect from themselves and from us coaches.” The team consists of many veterans that Johns thinks very highly of and trusts that their abilities as leaders for the entire team will allow the Choctaws to be very successful the rest of the season.
Senior Abel Perez has been one of the leaders for the Choctaws. Over his four years at MC, Perez has played in over sixty matches and has seen a lot of growth in himself from his freshman year to where he is now: “I’ve been improving each year. We have had a lot of different coaches and I have learned a lot from each of them.” He has a similar opinion to Johns on the reasons for the team’s success: “We have great players this year. We can count on each other in games, and we train and practice well together. We do not have individual groups, we are like a family.”
Each season brings new challenges to athletes, but this season has been different for veterans like Perez, as COVID has changed preparation for games. However, Perez spoke very highly on how the team has handled the protocols as a team: “We’ve been doing great! We follow and meet the protocols in place and we accept them.” Though he wants to do well in the spring, Perez knows that this spring season is preparation for the normal season that happens in the fall, which he will be able to participate in as a result of the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to fall sport athletes due to COVID-19.
The GSC tournament begins for the Choctaws on March 21 in Meridian, Mississippi, at 3:30 p.m. They will play Delta State or Shorter. The GSC championship is scheduled for the weekend of April 2-3 in Huntsville, Alabama.