When the soccer season begins in 2022 at JCHS, the Lady Greyhounds will be eyeing a return to the state tournament with the Greyhounds starting the Will Cowart era.
Both will start a bit earlier than a year ago.
Just two days into the new year, teams will be able to officially practice, with Jan. 3 being the earliest dates that teams will be permitted. That date was Jan. 11 a year ago. The earliest date on which teams can play will now be Jan. 24, more than a week earlier than last year’s first allowable game date of Feb. 1.
The earlier start time could put some teams in a bit of a squeeze. An earlier start time could not only possibly conflict with schedules of players who play on travel teams but also on multi-sport athletes who play soccer as well.
The GHSA has scheduled Feb. 22-23 as the date for the first round of the basketball state tournament and the traditional wrestling state tournament starting Feb. 4-5. That means, if a team has players playing soccer and basketball, the season would be nearly a month old if those teams are in the basketball state tournament.
With basketball and wrestling not wrapping up until February, teams could run the risk of not having some of their soccer players available as the season begins and moves toward region play.
That would not have been an issue for JCHS last year, however, with no players from either varsity squad crossing over to basketball and wrestling.
Gymnastics and tennis can also officially start practice on Jan. 3 of next year with track and field on Jan. 10, baseball on Jan. 17 and golf of Feb. 7.