Aynor girls soccer coach Lonnie Kaye said losing last season to the pandemic was frustrating, but he hopes to see his girls “pick up where they left off.”
“The girls want to be here,” Kaye said.
The Blue Jackets returned every starter for the 2021 season.
“We’re pretty much the same team,” Kaye said.
Kaye noted that his team does have a disadvantage in that only two of his players play club soccer, compared to other programs like Waccamaw, which has 11 players who play club.
“Most of our girls haven’t touched a soccer ball in almost a year,” Kaye said.
Despite this, Kaye believes that the camaraderie of the team sets the Aynor Blue Jackets apart.
“We’re a family,” Kaye said. “We got girls that want to learn to play soccer. They want to be a part of what we have.”
Defender Brelyn Loomis said that it was a relief to return to the field and be with her teammates again.
“I missed the soccer family we had,” she said. “It gets a lot of stress off."
Continuing that family atmosphere is one of the goals forward Makayla Riley has for herself this season. That, and scoring more goals.
“Definitely want to score more,” Riley said. “I also want to be more endurant.”
With a youthful lineup, there will be plenty of playing time for underclassmen. During a practice on the opposite end of the field, members of the junior varsity squad were yelling and cheering during a drill.
“It’s inspiring,” Loomis said, looking onward.
After losing last season due to the pandemic, Riley said this season is important.
“We never know what can happen,” Riley said. “So to be able to have this opportunity now, it’s amazing really.”