Refs blow the whistle, silence falls, players and? coaches jump up into the air, the student section goes wild, clapping, screaming, and shouting.
School spirit is always in the air at the Durham School of the Arts. It could be for any sport: volleyball, basketball, baseball. But soccer always brings a different vibe to the school. Soccer at DSA has always been a highly competitive sport. In the last 2-3 years DSA soccer has won conference and made it to states. With the big achievements they have moved up a division. Durham School of the Arts currently ranks number 2 in the new 3A division. Due to the high prospects playing for DSA and the numerous successes, they have been moved to a newer division, which means newer teams.
“New teams like Webb, we still have Carrboro, North Carolina School of Science and Math is not in our school anymore, the competition is a little better, but not that much better” Kayin Wiltshire, Senior Center back, commented.
Even with the soccer team competing in a totally new division, there is still the same old, and still very dangerous global pandemic, which has brought some very difficult challenges to the team.
“With COVID-19 we have had to take a lot of COVID protocols into account, we have to enter on one side of the field, and exit on the other side and we have to be wearing masks during practice” Jacob Franke, Junior Goalie, stated.
Even though vaccinations have come out,for the age group from 16-18 years of age, the basic needs of drinking water and breathing require social distancing due to the high contact from one player to another on and off the soccer field.
“Well obviously we have to wear a mask while we play, depending on the situation we can have the mask down when we are playing, but when we are like static, not doing anything, or getting/drinking water we have to social distance and keep our masks up” Wiltshire said.
Even with COVID present in our school and home environment, they still had their soccer season to take place. It wasn’t the prettiest start for the team in general starting below .500 at 2-4 with losses to schools, Riverside Highschool, Franklinton HighSchool, and Research Triangle HighSchool. Since the 2-4 start, they have won 4 straight beating teams like North Carolina School of Science and Math, Southern Highschool, Woods Charter, Vance County.
“Coaches aggression, and players aggression towards us, for us to get better, Mr.Key was talking about us running at like 7am, we do that almost everyday, so it's been paying off well” Wiltshire shared.
The major turnaround could be also attributed to the team getting comfortable with the playing atmosphere.
“I think just the fact that everyone was kind of used to getting back to normal, we were able to kind of get back into the rhythm of things, and start practicing and getting better as a team,” Franke stated.
For seniors this is the last dance, their final stretch, make it or break it, but one thing is common in all seniors, they want to step up and leave their high school soccer career on a high note not only for them, but their legacy at DSA.
“We are just going to give it our all, Me, Jaiden, Kevin, and all the seniors, about to give it our all this season” Wiltshire exclaimed.