Boys Soccer Previews & Preseason Power Rankings – 2021
It was unfortunate the way 2020 went for spring sports, and boys soccer had a number of programs that never got to show what they were capable of. Take these preseason Power Rankings with a grain of salt, as no one really can tell where these teams lie since their full 2019 season.
#1 HABERSHAM CENTRAL
HEAD COACH: Ric Wallace
2020 RECORD: 4-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Steven Bennett, Thomas Collins, Ethan Contreras, Quinn Farrell, Alexis Laguna, Noah Stephens, Nate Tinoco, Aydan Tyree
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Manny Hernandez, Elvis Navarrete, Francisco Reyes, Patrick Tedder, Ellis Wallace, Angel Zavala
TEAM STRENGTH: “We have the core of squad that has loads of varsity experience and played in big games over the last several years,” says Wallace. “This experience coupled with a strong desire to make the most of their time in a Raider jersey will provide the heart of the Raiders.”
OUTLOOK: “New region with new challenges and some familiar foes,” adds Wallace. “The Raiders’ experienced returners and a quality group of newcomers will have the team ready to make a competitive run in Region 8 AAAAAA.”
#2 UNION COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Leland Sarrell
2020 RECORD: 6-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Kobi Robbins
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Aaron Helton, Kyler Robbins, Dalton Allen
TEAM STRENGTH: Winning foundation, experience, starters returning
OUTLOOK: No outlook has been given by Union for the 2021 season, but we know with Helton back between the pipes, and Robbins and his knack for scoring goals, this team will be sure to contend and hard to beat.
#3 WHITE COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Jon Leventhal
2020 RECORD: 7-4-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Iyan Windham, Will Sampson, Domingo Juan Andres
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Charles Causey, Michael Wren, Hayden Gensler, Ian Sanchez, Joseph Kahle, Maverick Aguilar, Trey Morris, Dominic Stevens, Andrew Pierce
TEAM STRENGTH: “Our combination of experienced upperclassmen and talented freshmen,” says coach Leventhal.
OUTLOOK: “We are looking forward to competing for the championship this season as we represent White County with great honor, integrity, and pride,” adds Leventhal.
HEAD COACH: Casey Colquitt
2020 RECORD: 7-2-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Brandon Hudson
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: N/A
TEAM STRENGTH: Returning starters, winning foundation, reputation
OUTLOOK: No outlook was given on the 2021 season by Jefferson. There is plenty of talent on this roster, however, even with the loss of Brandon Hudson, the reigning BLITZ Player of the Year.
#5 TOWNS COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Jonny Eyrich
2020 RECORD: 3-0
KEY PLAYERS LOST: N/A
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Peyton Barrett, Jensen Brown, Garrett Oakes
TEAM STRENGTH: Returning starters, senior leadership, momentum
OUTLOOK: No outlook was given by Towns for the 2021 season, but with Barrett back for one more run, along with Brown and Oakes, this Indians team can chalk up some wins!
#6 RABUN COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Alex Stafford
2020 RECORD: 2-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Levi Loveless, Edwin Diaz, Jesus Olvera, Alberto Ortiz.
“These were mostly key players out of the middle and we have some pretty big shoes to fill,” says Stafford.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Ezequial Ramos-Rios, Cesar Armenta, Diego Garcia, Juanes Matinez, Edgar Balderas.
“These guys have big shoes to fill but I am confident these guys will be able to do just that,” adds Stafford. “I’ve also got a few freshmen that are new to the lineup and I’m excited to see out there.”
TEAM STRENGTH: “We are a young team this year but the guys have bonded really well in the off-season,” says Stafford. “I’m hoping we can translate that over onto the field as well. We’ve got some guys with good footwork as well.”
OUTLOOK: “We are a young team this year, but I see a lot of potential,” says Stafford. “We do play in a tough region but I’m hopeful that we can gain confidence in our first games, which will be challenging for us. I’m hoping being young will play as an advantage for us on the field. I think we’ll have a pretty good season this year and I’m excited to hit the field.”
#7 TALLULAH FALLS
HEAD COACH: Jeremy Stille
2020 RECORD: 3-10 (Non-GHSA)
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Samuel Dunlap, Mohamed Kanu, Babatomiwa Sofela, Maik Murenzi, Justin Yu, Henrik Wiberg
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Junho So, Joe Griswold, Cainan Yaskiewicz, David Rodriguez Moreno, Sammy Davis
TEAM STRENGTH: “Our strengths this season will be energy,” says Stille. “Being involved in GHSA and having competition that allows our players to progress toward a goal, such as playoffs, cannot be understated. This will allow for more drive and passion in each training session and game. We also have a great mix of guys that get along and want to play with and for each other. It is an exciting foundation for the program moving forward.”
OUTLOOK: “This year, we want to focus on developing our team,” adds Stille. “We want to find a style of play that works with our youth and our strengths. While doing that, we also want to build tradition within the program, including working with the girls team, so that the programs continue to move forward and up, competing with region and state powerhouses year after year. For this season, like all transitional seasons, there are feelings of excitement, nervousness, and unpredictability. The guys are ready to start and their excitement is contagious. We hope to stay focused throughout the season, ensure everyone stays safe, and compete to the best of our ability.”
#8 LUMPKIN COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Bill Madigan
2020 RECORD: 2-8
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Dylan Southin, Joe Froggart Sam Gooch due to injury
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Ben Orton, Nathaniel Brooks, Gage Benton, Dylan Bodney , Erik Esqueda, Jonah Wade; newcomers Nicholas Esqueda, Payte Rucker
TEAM STRENGTH: “Returning Starters and strong 9th grade class,” says Madigan.
OUTLOOK: “This year we want to mesh our experience with our young talent and start a new tradition of excellence on and off the pitch,” says Madigan.
#9 DAWSON COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Patrick Muenchen
2020 RECORD: 0-11
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Michael Velasquez, Pablo Hernandez, Caleb Bonesteel
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Blake Frazier, Erick Sanchez, Jose Sandoval, Gio Hernandez, Mason Truitt, Rylan Steffins
TEAM STRENGTH: “These guys pass and work together as a team,” says Muenchen. “Great camaraderie and attitude.”
OUTLOOK: “Last year we stuck close to home and played a lot of bigger schools,” says Muenchen. “We were outmatched. This year we have a better schedule and our players work well together.”
#10 STEPHENS COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Erin Fleming
2020 RECORD: 1-5
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Muhammed Berk Aktas, Colby Rockwell
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Matthew Viehweg, Isaac Burtt, Caleb Schell
TEAM STRENGTH: “Individual skill,” says Fleming.
OUTLOOK: “This year we’re excited to bring the individual talent together to form a stronger force on the field,” says Fleming.
#11 BANKS COUNTY
HEAD COACH: Carlos Cook
2020 RECORD: 2-6
KEY PLAYERS LOST: “Lost my seniors, and miss them with all our heart,” says Cook. “Each and every one were special in what they did on the field.”
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: “All of my team players are key and they are returning,” adds Cook.
TEAM STRENGTH: “The team is new and fresh this year, also very calm and communicative team and eager to learn more, so they can play well and have fun on the field,” states Cook. “Many new players from middle school also.”
OUTLOOK: The Leopards will look to compete in 8-AA for a playoff spot.
HEAD COACH: Alicia Vargas
2020 RECORD: 1-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Juan Marchan, Dylan Silva
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Jhonny Valle, Erick Diaz, Tucker Bennett
TEAM STRENGTH: Returning starters
OUTLOOK: “Been difficult this go around as we have some players doing an online learning schedule which makes it difficult for them to get to school for practice,” says Vargas. “However, we are looking forward to a great season.”