DeSoto County youth football has been “kicking its own way” in recent weeks, competing against some of the top clubs in the state and region.
The merged programs of DeSoto Galaxy and Hernando Express, now known as DeSoto Futbol Club, or De Soto FC, sent three teams to the recent Southern Regional Presidents Cup in Frisco, Texas. Although no championship was won, the 2004 DeSoto FC boys reached the championship game before losing and the 2008 boys reached the semi-finals of the tournament before losing on a free kick in overtime. The 2005 boys were 0-2-1 in their pool game, but still narrowly missed out on the bracket round.
Brandon Thomas, who is acting executive director of DeSoto FC and president of the DeSoto County football program, said the teams made the Southeast Regional Presidents Cup as second-place teams in the Mississippi Football Association‘s Premier Cup held at Southaven. Four club teams qualified but the three men’s teams made the trip to Texas.
Thomas felt that the merged programs had strengthened them regionally and nationally.
“It was the first year that the two groups merged into one club, coaches and players with our teams,” Thomas said. “It definitely boosted the tops of our teams.”
The DeSoto County teams that played impacted the other teams, coaches and scouts who were on hand for the competition. A DeSoto FC player has probably made a special impression and local football fans can expect to see him a lot in the future at club and high school level.
“In the 2008 age group was Calvin Harrison, who will be a freshman at Hernando next year,” Thomas said. “He scored 10 of the 12 goals his team scored in the four games they were there. He certainly had coaches and other clubs interested in his ability to play and score goals.
But local fans of the world’s most popular sport are now seeing the growth of football in DeSoto County. Where top players previously had to leave the region to develop their skills, Thomas said they are now developing their talents at home.
“It’s become evident over the past two years in local high schools that kids, whether they’re in Lewisburg or Center Hill, are getting the same level of education,” Thomas said. “From the boys of 2004 or U-18, we have 11 playing college or junior football. This has been the case for a few years. »
Thomas added that the success of a week of play on a regional stage by a DeSoto County program should tell the competition that DeSoto FC is a program to be reckoned with in years to come.
“It was a very good week for us, but it took time too,” said Thomas. “We are community-based in that we do this for the children who live and go to school in our communities and give them the opportunity to perform at the highest level in Mississippi and beyond.”