Soccer team under new leadership

Experienced coach Mike Atkinson hopes to guide team to play-off berth


Nick Fekaris

Coach Mike Atkinson walks the sideline during the non-conference match against Garner. Atkinson is also the JV girls’ soccer coach.

Nick Fekaris, Online Editor

The boys’ varsity soccer team is under new management this year.

Head coach, Michael Atkinson, is coaching his first season with the team, and he has high standards for how he wants it to go.

“I want to win the conference. That is our ultimate goal of the season,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson is a veteran coach with 11 seasons coaching both boys’ and girls’ soccer. For the two previous seasons, Atkinson was the boys’ head coach at Granville Central High School.

The players can definitely see this experience in how he coaches.

“He seems like he knows the game, and he seemed like the kind of guy that knew how to coach the team and how to get the best out of players,” senior captain Connor Cochrane said.

Other players from the team had good first impressions of the new coach as well.

“He seemed pretty nice coming in, and he still does. He definitely wants us to win,” said senior defender and captain Trevor Morrison.

There are aspects of their game that the team needs to work on, and Atkinson knows it.

“We got to get used to winning. We got to get used to scoring. When we’re in front of the goal, we got to know that, just we’re going to score the ball,” Atkinson said.

The team also has other pieces working for them such as the strong senior leadership and younger players like sophomore John Autry and freshmen Ross Gennetti.

The team found early non-conference success, going undefeated until a 5-2 loss at Broughton Sept. 14. The Cougars are currently 4-2-3 after a 4-0 win against Rolesville Sept. 18.

Cochrane feels like they’re “going to surprise a lot of people and turn a lot of heads.”

Atkinson said, “Anything can happen at state play-offs.”