Seven-on-seven league kicks off
Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
For summer-time soccer, Callaway High is the place to be.
A seven-on-seven soccer league kicked off in 2015, with teams from a handful of schools showing up at Callaway’s soccer field for games on Tuesdays throughout the summer.
This week, the league returned for its fourth year, and once again all of the games will be played at Callaway’s soccer complex.
With the exception of July 3rd, league games will be played every Tuesday through July 24th when a tournament will be held to crown a champion.
On the first night of league play, teams from Callaway, LaGrange, Troup and East Coweta each played two games.
Callaway boys’ coach Mike Petite said that Heritage School in Newnan will begin playing next week.
“They’re going to be joining us next week,” Petite said. “They had a great experience last year.”
The newcomer this year is East Coweta’s boys’ team, and Petite said the coach is happy to be a part of the league.
“It was good to have a different school, somebody different coming down,” Petite said. “And they seem really happy to come. He said he was excited to get his guys out there.”
The format for the league is obviously different than what the teams are accustomed to.
Instead of 11 players on each side as is the case during the spring season, there are only seven players in the summer league, and the games are much shorter.
The seven-on-seven games feature two 20-minute halves, which lets the teams to play multiple games each night.
The league allows the players for the various teams to get some valuable time on the field.
That’s particularly valuable for a team like Petite’s which is made up mostly of players who don’t play travel soccer.
“A lot of our guys only play during the season. Not very many play club,” Petite said. “So this is their chance to play together. For us their time playing is big for them and helps them develop as a player, and helps us as a team from a development standpoint.”
The Cavaliers are coming off the best season in the history of the program.
Callaway shared the Region 5-AA championship last season and won the program’s first-ever state-playoff game.
Now, the Cavaliers are in a bit of a rebuilding mode following the departure of a bunch of seniors, most of whom had been starting for years.
“Graduating 10 like we did, we’ll have to find some new roles for players, and fit in some younger guys,” said Petite, whose team tied with East Coweta and Troup on Tuesday. “After (Tuesday), things looked positive. We’re real excited about the potential we have.”
Callaway’s girls’ team is in a similar situation.
Nearly every starter from a team that made it to the second round of the state playoffs for a second straight season graduated, which means it’ll be a new-look team that takes the field next spring.
Also participating in the seven-on-seven league is a LaGrange girls’ team that is coming off an exceptional season.
LaGrange won a second consecutive region championship and advanced to the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs before losing to a Marist team that was ranked first in the country.
LaGrange’s boys’ team, which also made it to the second round of the state playoffs before falling to Marist, isn’t competing in the seven-on-seven league.
LaGrange’s boys’ team is playing a full 11-on-11 schedule this summer.
Troup’s girls’ and boys’ teams, who are looking to bounce back from difficult seasons, are both participating in the seven-on-seven league.
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