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- Paris Flash
Drive around the Paris area on any Saturday in the spring, summer or fall and you will probably see kids playing soccer somewhere, ready to live out their dreams of a professional career. Weeknights are full of children practicing while games fill up the weekend hours. Moms and dads cheer on their kids as they run up and down the field in hopes of putting the soccer ball in the back of the net.
For some of those young stars, this constant work has paid off as they now find themselves playing soccer on the varsity level in high school. Others have the unique opportunity of playing soccer at the collegiate level. Several players on the Paris Junior College men’s and women’s soccer teams are from Paris, and PJC Soccer Coach Lance Noble is looking forward to a successful second year.
Local players include Cerah Collard, Morgan Flippen, Mary O’Connor, Nichole Perry and Cindy Rangel, who played for North Lamar High School, and Ally Kear, Rogelio Gutierrez and Ilmi Mehmeti, who played for Paris High School. As forecast at the program’s inception last year, the soccer program has helped increase enrollment. While each team has a total of 18 scholarships, there are 52 soccer players total.
“We’re very pleased with the recruits this year,” said Coach Noble. “We’ve got 33 guys and 22 girls with 18 scholarships per team. I returned six men and five women. We’re young, but recruiting went well and we returned the right players. More importantly, they are good people and good students. I think both teams have a good shot at making the national tournament.”
PJC launched the soccer teams last year and the men’s team made the national tournament, only to be defeated by eventual national champion Tyler Junior College.
By Greg Higgins, eParisExtra