Region rankings showing soccer growth

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, March 19, 2009

The first regional soccer rankings of the year are out and two Shelby County teams are in the Top 10.

Oak Mountain is No. 7 in the boys’ Region 2 poll, while Spain Park girl’s soccer is the only Alabama team in the National Soccer Coaches Association of American Region 3 poll, sitting at No. 6 with a 9-1-2 record.

First-year Jaguars head coach Jonathan Weimer said he hopes the ranking will help continue to show that high school soccer is growing in Alabama.

“Alabama has always been a little bit behind, but I’m glad to see that we’re getting recognition,” Weimer said. “I still talk to club coaches that say oh Alabama’s not good. They’re not up to the level of Georgia … It’s good showing that Alabama teams can compete regionally with other states.”

Spain Park is making a case for that itself, losing its only game early in the year to Oak Mountain in the Lakeshore Shootout. Oak Mountain went on to win the Shootout, beating Harrison High of Kennesaw, Ga., in a shootout.

Harrison, who is ranked No. 5 in the Region 3 poll, tied Spain Park to start the tournament.

After losing in the Class 6A semifinal last year, Spain Park is aiming for a state title this year.

“(The ranking) helps build our team confidence, which helps us going into the rest of the season,” Weimer said. “We’ve got a good combination of our biggest senior class ever in Spain Park history and a good up and coming class. We have good team chemistry this year with our older and younger players. We’re playing really well and luck is definitely on our side this year.”

Oak Mountain (12-1-0) is ranked No. 15 in the ESPN Fab 50 national poll.

Also ranked in the Region 2 boys’ poll is John Carroll (11-1-1) at No. 4.