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Enterprise State to add soccer as sanctioned sport

Enterprise State to add soccer as sanctioned sport

**Originally published by the Dothan Eagle

By Jon Johnson

Read the article here: https://dothaneagle.com/sports/college/enterprise-state-to-add-mens-soccer-as-sanctioned-sport/article_6a985fee-b707-11ee-92a9-cbe8ac49ed0d.html

ENTERPRISE – Enterprise State Community College is adding men’s soccer to its ever-growing sports programs it was officially announced on Friday.

After a trial run of sorts this past fall as a club sport, ESCC soccer will transition into being a sanctioned sport competing within the Alabama Community College Conference beginning next fall.

Up until now, Southern Union was the only school in the ACCC that fielded a soccer team.

Former Enterprise High soccer player Cade Stinnett, who led the club program, will also be the head coach of the new team, which will offer scholarships to recruited players.

“I’d like to say thank you to President (Danny) Long and the administration for giving me a chance to coach and build this program,” Stinnett said. “My goal for this program for this first season is to bring light to southeast Alabama and the surrounding area the opportunity for young men to play soccer and further their education past high school.

“My expectations are to be highly-competitive and to make a name for ourselves from the start. My coaching philosophy centers around hard work, effort and integrity. If I can get the team to buy into the system that we will put into place and give effort to better themselves individually and as a team, then we will be a successful program. I’m beyond excited to get this program up and running.”

Stinnett, who was also a standout placekicker on the Enterprise High football team and on the college level at Jacksonville State, became a volunteer assistant soccer coach at Jacksonville High School and eventually was elevated to head coach before returning back to Enterprise, where he spent time coaching the EHS junior varsity team.

“It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time, because I don’t have much to go on and I’m figuring it out as we go,” Stinnett said of being the head coach of a brand new program. “But it’s also exciting to start it and then eventually see where it’s going to end up, too.”

He believes the club soccer team at ESCC was actually a good recruiting tool for moving forward to a sanctioned sport.

“We started off with 12 players, so not as much as I had hoped for, but enough to play,” Stinnett said of the club team. “Then going from there, my two goals for this club season was have enough on roster and get games on schedule, and we were able to do that.

“We ended up playing Southern Union reserve team twice, and the rest of the teams we scheduled were U17, U18, U19 club teams from Panama City, Dothan, Enterprise and Wetumpka, which helped as far as the recruiting aspect for this upcoming season in getting the word out we’re starting the program.”

Stinnett will now hit the recruiting trail.

“I believe we have 24 scholarships and the amount of walk-ons is limitless,” Stinnett said. “We’re hoping for around 30 (players).

“I’m mostly looking to stay within the area. Also, the panhandle of Florida is virtually untouched for junior college (soccer), so anywhere from Montgomery to panhandle of Florida is mostly going to be my recruiting area.”

Besides putting together a roster, Stinnett will have to form a schedule against teams out of state with the exception of Southern Union.

“We know we’ve got to play them (Southern Union) at least twice and have a couple of dates set with them,” Stinnett said. “Other than that, there’s a lot of junior colleges in Mississippi, so that’s going to be a heavy bit of our schedule, and a handful of Georgia. So there’s going to be a lot of distant traveling for away games.”

In recent years, ESCC added volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s golf to its long standing sports of men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball.

The men’s soccer program may eventually lead to yet another team on campus.

“Today is a day that we make school history,” ESCC athletics director Jeremaine Williams said. “We’re getting ready to start men’s soccer. We’re looking to add women soccer later on when we complete our renovations when we’re able to accommodate all of the sports.”

The team will have several options to use as a home field, including Bates Memorial Stadium, a soccer field that is already in place on campus or some new soccer fields that are being built by the City of Enterprise on campus through a partnership with the junior college.

“They (City of Enterprise) have three multi-purpose fields that are going up on the west side of our campus and those are close to getting done,” ESCC president Danny Long said. “They did that out of the demand of the local recreation teams for soccer.

“We just thought with the investment they were putting into the sport locally and with the interest that Cade was able to generate with the club team this year, it (men’s soccer) was worth the investment.”

For more information, contact Stinnett by email at jstinnett@escc.edu.

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