Cleveland High School soccer coach John Brose and his staff are getting ready for the third annual Cleveland Classic Soccer Tournament.
The tournament March 17-19 will kick off this year’s soccer season and will bring some of the best regional and statewide teams to Cleveland. The tournament will be played at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex, at the Lee University soccer facilities and at Cleveland Middle School. One match will be played at McMinn County High School.
“This is a good way to see how you stack up against some of the state’s better soccer teams,” said Brose before the start of practice Thursday afternoon at the CHS soccer field.
Brose admits his Raiders are young this year, after an 11-8-2 record a year ago. Cleveland won district and region titles, but was eliminated in a sub-state match in the TSSAA playoffs by Murfreesboro Riverdale.
The Raiders have only two starters back from a year ago, but are anticipting a big year.
The Classic will kick off the 25th season of the Cleveland High soccer program, which began in 1986. “We hope to have a reunion for the 1986 team sometime this season,” said Brose, adding that plans have yet to be finalized.
Cleveland, and other soccer teams, have already begun preseason play. The Raiders had a Blue-White game and then traveled to Maryville earlier this week for a scrimmage. “They beat us,” Brose said of the scrimmage, adding that the Red Rebels will be one of the better teams participating in the Classic. “They have a senior-laden team,” he said.
“We brought back a lot of positives,” the Cleveland coach said of the scrimmage loss. “It’s good to play a good team early. It’s a learning experience.”
Another Classic team anticipating a positive season this year is Franklin.
Joining these two teams and Cleveland in Classic play will be Baylor, Beech, East Hamilton, Coffee County, McMinn County, Blackman, Soddy-Daisy, Ooltewah and Notre Dame.
“We’re going to be a pretty young team this year,” the Raiders coach added about his team. “There’ll be a lot of new faces around, but we could be pretty good. We just need to have a good attitude and work ethic.”
Brose said the Raiders like having the Classic at the beginning of the year. “We invite some of our regular rivals and we can see how we stand (compared to regional teams and other teams from across the state).”
The Classic will begin with two matches on March 17. Notre Dame will tackle Ooltewah and Cleveland takes on always-tough Baylor. The opening matches will be played at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex.
All 12 teams will play on Friday, with McMinn County taking on Maryville at McMinn County High School. Three matches will be played at the Complex, and two at Lee University.
It will be an all-day affair March 19, at the Complex, at Lee University and at Cleveland Middle School.
Admission will be $5 for a single match, but you can purchase a tournament pass for $12.
Proceeds from the Classic will be used for general activities of the Cleveland High School soccer program. “We are also hoping to raise funds to construct a fieldhouse-type of structure at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex. But, that will be down the road,” added Brose.
Assistant coaches for the Cleveland boys soccer team this year will be Andy Byrd and Zach Bain. Byrd is coach of the Cleveland High girls soccer team.
Trophies will be presented to the Classic champion and runner-up, determined by points. Teams will earn three points for a win, one point for a draw (tie) and no points in a loss.
The Classic schedule:
Thursday (March 17): 5:30 p.m. — Notre Dame vs. Ooltewah at the Greater Cleveland Complex; 7:30 p.m. Cleveland vs. Baylor at the Soccer Complex.
Friday (March 18) — 4 p.m. Cleveland vs. Notre Dame at the Soccer Complex; 5:30 p.m. Baylor vs. Blackman at Lee University; 6 p.m. — East Hamilton vs. Coffee County at the Soccer Complex; 7:30 p.m. Ooltewah vs. Beech at Lee; 7:30 p.m. McMinn County vs. Maryville at McMinn County High School; 8 p.m. Soddy-Daisy vs. Franklin at the Soccer Complex.
Saturday morning (March 19) — 9 a.m. Maryville vs. Baylor at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex; 9 a.m. — Beech vs. East Hamilton at Cleveland Middle School, 9 a.m. — Coffee County vs. McMinn County at Lee University; 11 a.m. — Blackman vs. Soddy-Daisy at the Soccer Complex; 11 a.m. — Ooltewah vs. Franklin at Cleveland Middle.
Saturday afternoon (March 19) — 3 p.m. — Beech vs. Cleveland at the Soccer Complex; 3 p.m. — Soddy-Daisy vs. Coffee County at Cleveland Middle; 5 p.m. — Franklin vs. Maryville at the Soccer Complex; 5 p.m. Notre Dame vs. Blackman at Lee; 7 p.m. McMinn County vs. East Hamilton at the Soccer Complex.