MMI JuCo kicks off soccer season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MARION – August 26 will mark the return of the Marion Military Institute Junior College sports to the Alabama Community College Conference after a five-year absence.

“We’re excited about our first year back in the ACCC,” says Dr Michelle Ivey, Vice President for Athletic Affairs. “It’s a tough league, but we now offer a full scholarship program for our men’s sports including soccer. All of our coaches are doing a tremendous job recruiting.

“We hope to make a good showing and put out a good competitive sports program in the ACCC.”

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With their scholarship program in tack look for MMI JuCo to compete for post season play.

The Tiger soccer team, who has only played at the club level in past years, will open its inaugural varsity season against Union College JV of Jackson, Tenn.

on Saturday.

At the helm for MMI is Winston Williams, who was brought back in December.

Williams, who was born in Trinidad, previously served as soccer coach for Concordia College-Selma.

“It’s exciting to know that a prestigious school like this understand that soccer is a world sport,” commented Williams.

“In this country more kids play soccer than any sport besides baseball.

“There are more than 160 countries play soccer, and unlike most sports it takes five years to qualify for the World Cup verses one season for baseball as an example to get to the World Series.”

He has brought with him the desire to influence a soccer presence in the Black Belt area particularly among young people. Williams believe that soccer in Alabama is on the incline, but slowly.

This year’s squad will benefit from the knowledge and experience of their new coach’s international experience.

“We started late in recruiting,” said Williams, who received his BA from the University of Michigan, “so we missed the opportunity to get some quality players. But we have some good players including a few international players. So we’re looking to blend the chemistry with what we have.”

The Tiger international players on the team hail from Japan and Panama.

Coach Williams has also recruited players from Trinidad for next season.

MMI has on its schedule on of the junior college soccer powerhouses in the like of Georgia Perimeter CC of Decatur, Ga.

The first home game is Oct. 5 vs. Wallace CC-Hanceville. Also on the home schedule is Fisk University, Oct 7 and Concordia College-Selma Oct 17.

Wallace is the only other ACCC team that competes in soccer. That means two wins over Wallace gets the Tigers an automatic bid in the National Junior College Athletic Association post-season tournament.