Outside the lines: High school futbol season is here again

It&8217;s barely been two months and it&8217;s already futbol season again.

One of the quick observations that I made when I chose to leave Tennessee to return to Shelby County was that soccer season in Alabama takes place in the spring. During my time at Martin Methodist College I worked closely with the women&8217;s soccer team, covering nearly every moment of their 2005 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship. Even before going to MMC, I enjoyed the game of soccer, a love that kindled as a child while playing at the YMCA, but grew in college while covering the team.

So, it excited me when I realized that not only will my transition take place in the middle of what I expected to be nothing short of an exciting basketball season, but also it brought me around to have the opportunity to be around soccer. Not just any soccer, but like most sports in Shelby County, great soccer.

This week marks the kick-off of the 2007 Alabama High School Athletic Association soccer season for both boys and girls.

Many teams in the county will meet this weekend to participate in the 15th Annual Lakeshore Shootout. Meanwhile, Pelham and Thompson boys helped open the season last night in a head-to-head rivalry match &045; there&8217;s no other way to do it.

Eight local teams will start the season ranked in the Top 10, with a ninth receiving votes.

In boys soccer, Oak Mountain received nine first place votes and is the pre-season No. 1, despite finishing in the semifinals last season. Spain Park is not too far behind at No. 4.

In Class 5A, Briarwood received two first place votes and is ranked fourth, while Chelsea receives three poll points and will begin the season at No. 19. Indian Springs is the No. 1 team in Class 4A.

In girls soccer, Oak Mountain and Spain Park are grouped together at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively in Class 6A, while Briarwood received all but one first place vote in Class 5A as a favorite to repeat their state title. Indian Springs is ranked second in Class 4A.

So, as the weather warms, load up the family and find a soccer match near you