Chelsea soccer gains respect

For the first time in

Samantha Corker&8217;s tenure as head coach of Chelsea soccer, she enjoyed a Top 10 ranking for both her boys and girls squads last week.

This week, while her boys remain No. 6 in Class 5A and with her girls falling to No. 12, her secret game plan for both teams is simple &045; fun, plus good soccer, equals success. One way she helps keep the atmosphere loose is by jumping in the mix herself.

&8220;I like playing. When I&8217;m out there, I can communicate to them where to go as opposed to just standing here yelling at them from the sideline,&8221; Corker said.

The players feel the same way about having Corker put on a bib and play.

&8220;She can relate to us and it helps us when we know we don&8217;t have a coach who is just barking down our neck all the time,&8221; said senior forward Andrew Shelton.

In addition to Corker joining in at practice, the Hornets&8217; success lies at the feet of underclassmen Ashley Page for the boys and Sara Smith for the girls.

Page, an eighth grader, who recently moved to Chelsea from Kent, England, led the team with five goals and six assists entering Friday&8217;s 5-0 victory over No. 8 Sylacauga.

Smith, a sophomore, leads the girls with eight goals.

&8220;Every time she gets the ball she finishes,&8221; Shelton said. &8220;You look up and it&8217;s goal, goal, one touch…goal.&8221;

Both teams are looking forward to the rest of the season in Class 5A, as the boys meet No. 2 Briarwood at Heardmont Park on Thursday. The Hornets host Demopolis

on Friday