No one saw this coming.
The story at the beginning of the year was how some of the top players in the Triangle were going to be shut out of high school soccer. A new U.S. Soccer rule stated that boys’ players in its development academies – like one of CASL’s teams – would be on a new schedule that would block any chance to play for a high school.
Green Hope was among the hardest-hit schools, with six players from the 2011 4A championship team unable to return. That left them having to replace all 11 starters.
That left just two players who contributed to last year’s team.
Green Hope also had a new coach in Richard Huxford, who had no small shoes to fill in ESPN’s National Coach of the Year, Andrew Chadwick. The transition, it seemed, would take some time.
Instead, the Falcons went 24-2 and repeated the 4A state championship with a 2-0 win against Myers Park of Charlotte.
Some thought tradition is all the Falcons had going into this year; instead they carried their winning momentum for another season.
“I was jealous of all the seniors that got to do that last year,” Josh Kennedy said.
Sam Bissett, Green Hope’s junior goalkeeper who was named MVP of the championship game, wasn’t as sure going into this year.
“If someone had told me that at the beginning of the year, I would have told them they were crazy,” Bissett said. “I just never thought we’d be able to come back and do this again after everyone we lost.”