Cathedral basks in successful 2006-07 soccer season

Published 12:32 pm Thursday, February 15, 2007

The routine of turning in uniforms became something of a goodbye service Wednesday afternoon at Cathedral.

Coming off a 12-6-1 season and an appearance in the second round of the MHSAA playoffs, Green Wave head coach Rick Freeman announced to the few players who weren’t already aware that he would not be back as coach next season.

While Freeman’s announcement wasn’t exactly met with cheers, it was hard to dampen the spirits of a team fresh off one of the most successful seasons in school history.

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“This team never quit,” Freeman said. “They were relentless. Even a game like (5A) Vicksburg. We were down 6-0, and they kept fighting and kept trying. There was a lot of dedication and desire to win on this team.”

Freeman credited the team’s midseason turnaround to senior leadership and his assistant coaches, Paul Burns and Rick Simons.

“After we lost the first time to Franklin County, our seniors got together and committed to not losing another district game,” he said. “Their focus spilled over to a lot of the younger players. One of my assistants, Rick Simons, pointed out to me that in substituting we wound up swapping two players positions. When we swapped them back, you could tell it was working better. With that, we really took off.”

Several Green Wave seniors believed their leadership was integral to the team’s strong finish.

“At the beginning of the season, we had our doubts,” senior Eric Hollowell said. “We were inconsistent, but we never got down. We went out with an attitude that we wanted to win district.”

“We pulled together and helped lead the team,” goalkeeper Logan Brown, who played his first year of soccer ever this season, said. “We said we’re not going to have a losing season, and we came out and took off.”

Senior sweeper Curtis Maier agreed.

“(Senior leadership) was largely part of (the district championship,” he said. “We didn’t have many juniors at all, and it was a young team. Most of the seniors had a lot of experience and were able to help build up the younger players. They followed our lead.”

While six seniors are moving on, five starters return next season, most of which are underclassmen. Even with Freeman moving on, there is plenty of excitement.

“I feel like I’ve given them all I can,” Freeman said. “They’ve got a strong group coming back, and I felt like it was time to get a fresh face in here.”

That face very well could be Simons, who moved to the Miss-Lou last year from the Gulf Coast.

“I’m excited (to have the chance to coach),” he said. “The coach I had was from England, and I’ve been playing soccer for 23 years, so I feel like I know something about it. Hopefully some more will come out next year.”