Working together

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NATCHEZ — There is no “I” in “team,” and it takes every player working as one to achieve success. All sports fans have heard these clichés.

But sometimes these old sayings ring true, like in the case of the Adams County Christian School soccer team, according to senior midfielder Nathan Latimer.

Latimer was on the inaugural Rebel soccer team two seasons ago, and he said the reason for the team’s rapid improvement is because they have adhered to the old sayings.

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — ACCS’ Nathan Latimer, right, and Columbia Academy’s Parker Blackwell fight for the ball during their soccer match Wednesday afternoon at ACCS.

“I think that overall we have just gotten better as a team by working together,” he said. “There is a lot less fighting between people which has been a problem the past few years. We haven’t been doing that, and we’ve been able to get along and agree on what we need to do.”

Latimer said another aspect of that togetherness is the team’s ability to improve its passing game.

“You have to be able to pass the ball down the field,” he said. “One person won’t be able to take it all the way down because there are nine or 10 guys to go through, and (the ball) will get stolen and taken for a goal.”

Those lessons learned have led the Rebels to an 8-3 record this season with a 6-1 start in Division II-South play.

Latimer said he has also seen improvement in his own game, which has led to five goals this season, by far the most he has scored in a season.

“I’ve improved with my foot skills and definitely my passing and shooting,” he said.

Latimer has also stepped into a leadership role for the Rebels.

“I try to be as much of a leader on the team as I can,” he said. “I step up and give advice when needed.”

The Rebels have a mix of seniors and underclassmen on the team this season, and Latimer said he enjoys playing with the younger players.

“It shows our team has a good future,” he said. “Once they move up and work together like we did, this team will have a bright future.”

Latimer started playing soccer when he was approximately 8 years old, and soccer has always stood out as his favorite sports among the several that he plays.

“I kept playing soccer (after I started), because it was fun, and I seemed good at it,” he said. “Soccer is most definitely (my favorite). I just always seemed better at it. It came more natural to me.”

Latimer has also participated in football, baseball, track, cross country and tennis.

He said his senior season as a member of the Rebel football team did not go how he had hoped.

“(Football) wasn’t so great,” he said. “We struggled.”

Latimer, who played offensive guard, said he was pleased with his individual performance this season, however, especially after sitting out the previous two seasons.

“Individually it was my best (season) ever,” he said. “Since I hadn’t played the two seasons before, it was a big deal that I actually improved some. My awareness for the game improved.”

Latimer played football his freshman season but did not play as a sophomore or junior, he said.

“I wanted to play, but it wasn’t my top priority at the time,” he said.

Latimer said he also plans to run track for ACCS this year, but for now his priority is on the soccer season and improving the Rebel program.

“If we start achieving our goals that we have, soccer will become a more respected sport at our school,” he said.

And Latimer does not shy away from high expectations for his team.

“State (is the goal),” he said. “I think we can (get there).”