Young Cathedral soccer team making strides for the future

Published 12:01 am Friday, December 13, 2013

The Cathedral boys soccer team plays a game of keep away  during practice. The young team is primarily comprised of seventh through 10th graders and has only one senior on it's roster. (BRITTNEY LOHMILLER | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT)

The Cathedral boys soccer team plays a game of keep away during practice. The young team is primarily comprised of seventh through 10th graders and has only one senior on it’s roster. (BRITTNEY LOHMILLER | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT)

NATCHEZ — They may be small, but they have the heart to become something bigger.

Cathedral School Green Wave Soccer team lost five seniors this year, and they now consist of just one senior, one junior, two sophomores. The rest of the players are in middle school or freshmen. Head coach Dennis Hogue said despite their youth, his group of players are special.

“There are guys that don’t have half the skills on them as my guys that I have been coaching since five or six years old,” Hogue said. “But they’re just faster. When these guys get two years of growth on them, they’re going to be better. It’s just right now, we’re taking our lumps.”

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Hogue said he has coached 90 percent of the team in the Natchez Youth Rec League when they were younger, and that has helped tremendously in their bonding efforts.

But the one thing that brings adversity to the Green Wave’s season is their youth.

“Its been bitter sweet because they’ve got a lot of heart and they want to do well, but its hard to keep their passion for it because they know they’re going to get beat up by the bigger teams,” Hogue said.

With seventh and eight grade starters matching up against 6-foot high school players from teams like Franklin County High School, Hogue said they can either take the losses as a positive or a negative.

“A lot of character is built by getting beat,” he said. “It’s life lessons, and they know they’re paying their dues. I see them struggling with these things, but at the same time I see them trying to bond and getting better.”

Freshman striker John-Ashton Kicks said the losses motivate them to work harder in practice.

“We need to keep working hard because when we got beat, it wasn’t a good feeling, so we need to keep confidence and keep playing,” Hicks said,

Hicks said he’s hoping this year will be a rebuilding year that leads up to bigger things just like a familiar SEC football team.

“We’re like the Auburn football team,” Hicks said. “Last year they weren’t too great, but this year, they won some close games and you start to build confidence and it’s a great feeling.”

The Green Wave is currently 2-0 in district, and seventh grader Weston Diamond said there are some fundamentals they must work on to not only stay undefeated, but to go for the district championship.

“We need to work on our touches and our traps,” Diamond said.

Diamond said he was nervous when he first joined the soccer team, but now as a starter, he has buillt the confidence to be instrumental in their district run.

“I’ve been helping out with my passes in games,” he said.

Chaz Jackson, the lone senior for the Green Wave, said he thinks the season is going well because he knows it is a rebuilding process, and he prides himself on being a leader to the younger players.

“I just have to realize that they are a lot more of them than me, and I have to help to build the team,” he said. “I teach them respect for one another and to keep focus in the game.”

Cathedral plays Wesson High School at 7 p.m. today.