Fifth-year Coach Gary Hindley held his initial organizational meeting for the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School soccer program last week, welcoming 45 players, 25 boys and 20 girls.
Practice for the coming season officially opens Oct. 7 for the Lady Tiger Sharks and Oct. 14 for the Tiger Sharks.
The boys return 14 players, six starters, from a team that finished 13-3-1 overall last year, 7-0-1 in District 1-1A.
Among the returnees is junior forward Marcel Duarte and senior midfielder Drew Lacour, each an all-District player last year.
Duarte, who led the entire Bay\Franklin\Gulf area in scoring last year, notched 32 goals and has 59 for his career. The school record is 72 goals held by JMason Ray (2007-10).
Lacour is closing in the school record for assists. He has 22, trailing school record holder Daniel May (2008-11) by five.
"It will be hard to replace our five graduating players, four of which earned all-District honors, but it will be exciting to see how far our younger players have developed and progressed,” Hindley said. "We will be missing our outstanding starting goalkeeper from last year (Tucker Smith, 1.257 GAA) and three of our starting defenders, so putting that back in place during early season, will be our priority.
The Tiger Sharks host a preseason Jamboree Saturday, Nov. 2, before opening the regular season at North Bay Haven in Panama City Nov. 19.
The Lady Tiger Shark booters return 13 players from last year’s 10-6-1 squad. Eight of those were consistent starters, including all-District players junior Christian Laine (3 goals, 2 assists), senior defender Brittney Shoemaker (3,5) and junior midfielder Haley Wood (1,4), along with forwards Lexie McGhee (8,1) and Allie Strippling (3, 2), both seniors, and sophomore Kathleen Rish (13).
"We will be a young squad overall, so we will have to depend on our few experienced players to hold us together, until the younger players get the concepts of playing at this level," said Hindley, who has a 75-47-10 record at Port St. Joe.
The Lady Tiger Sharks will also host a Preseason Jamboree on Saturday, Oct. 26, before also opening at North Bay Haven on Nov. 19.
Coach Hindley, will once again be assisted by third year coach, Eli Duarte.