Athens Drive men’s soccer team returns to the full experience of soccer

William+Angell%2C+senior+midfielder%2C+kicks+the+ball+down+the+field+to+give+the+team+a+chance+to+score+against+Apex.+Final+score+3-0+Apex.+Photo+contributed+by+Caiden+Orders.

Photos by Caiden Orders

William Angell, senior midfielder, kicks the ball down the field to give the team a chance to score against Apex. Final score 3-0 Apex. Photo contributed by Caiden Orders.

The Athens Drive men’s soccer team began their season in August. This is the first time they have not had to play with masks on the field in over a year.  They have played seven games of their 22nd season so far. They currently stand at a 4-5-1 record but there is still a lot of soccer left in the season to come back from this losing record.

The team started the season by losing 1-0 to South Gardner but the following game bounced back and beat  Willow Springs 10-1. The following week they lost to Green Level 2-1 then lost 3-0 to Apex. After many losses, they beat Western Alliance 3-2. During the week of Sept. 13, they lost to Wakefield 3-1 and proceeded to beat the rival school Cary 2-1. The following week they played Wake Forest and lost 4-0 and played Fuquay-Varina 3 days later tying 0-0. Then the week of Sept, 20, they beat Southern Lee 3-2 in a nail-biter of a game.

 Sophomore striker Caiden Orders is the striker on the team who goes to a school called Wake Stem but is a part of the Athens team. He is the leading goal scorer as well as the playmaker with the most assists as well. Orders has no issue with being 3-4 right now because he knows “we will sooner or later flip the switch and start winning a lot again,” said Caiden Orders, sophomore.

For the first time in over a year, all sports are allowed to have the addition of fans once again. The addition of having fans in the stadium gives the players a huge confidence boost and a feeling that players have not had in a while or have not experienced yet. When the guidelines were having tight restrictions last year, there were not allowed fans when the season first started, but they slowly introduced fans by starting with only family members first to know being able to have anybody come. This will be one of the first sports that can be allowed to have full capacity without issues. 

“It’s great knowing that our parents and friends are in the stands cheering for us instead of the awkward silence we are so used to,” said Orders.

Ryan O’Leary is a center-back on the team and “loves the energy and the feeling of playing in front of a crowd as well as the rest of the team.” He enjoys the feeling of playing the game he loves so much with the pleasure of being able to not wear a mask and cause issues or penalties towards himself and the team. The change in scenery when walking into the stadium filled with students and fans brings back memories that people have not been able to experience for quite some time.

 It is good to know we are getting past this pandemic and the return of soccer gives everybody a chance to get their minds free of everything that has happened in the past year. Athens will continue their season by playing 11 more games and finish their season by playing Broughton on Oct. 27.