Picayune Junior High School fields boys soccer team

Published 7:00 am Friday, January 26, 2018

Under the leadership of Head Coach Devin Herrington and assistant coach Tyler Topey, boys in the seventh and eighth grade had the opportunity to be part of the first Picayune Junior High School soccer team.

It all started when the Picayune School Board of Trustees discussed the possibility of creating a soccer team at the junior high and Athletic Director Walt Esslinger asked Herrington, a former Picayune Memorial High School graduate, if he was interested in becoming the head coach. After thinking it over, Herrington agreed to take the position.

This season, the team played a total of 13 games, with the last one taking place Thursday night. Through 12 games, the team earned four wins and one tie.

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“My goal was to win one game but I told the boys that I didn’t care about winning, this is all about helping them develop as soccer players and improving their touch, passing and shooting skills,” Herrington said. “… soccer is very physical and this gives them a chance to play against kids in their age group and develop as soccer players without learning any bad habits.”

At the beginning of the season, Herrington was worried about not having enough players, but 14 players ended up being part of the soccer team. Three of them have no prior soccer experience. 

“They went from not knowing any of the positions or being the best skill-wise to being able to play multiple positions and know their role in each one,” Herrington said. “We tried to make it serious at practice but at the same time, you can’t make it too serious for them because at the end of the day, it’s supposed to be fun. The kids had a lot of fun this season.”

Heading into the beginning of the season, the team did not have uniforms that would fit. As a result, the player’s parents held fundraisers to buy new uniforms for the entire team.

“I want to thank Athletic Director Esslinger because he was a big help in creating this team and also to PJHS Principal Gen Breeland, PMHS Head soccer Coach Britton Fortenberry and my assistant coach Topey for their help this year,” Herrington said.

Members of the team include Justin Arechiga, Jeromy Blanton, Isaac Brice, Karlin Campbell. Alfredo Cordoba, Carter Edwards, Ceasar Gutierrez, Shod Jefferson, Arnulfo Ramirez, Isay Reyes, Alex Velasquez, Nick Walerius, Will Walerius and Jamie Wilson.