Special season cut short

The North Forsyth boys’ soccer team had a very successful season.

Special season cut short
April 16
10:00 2021

The North Forsyth boys’ soccer team had a phenomenal season. Fighting through COVID-19 quarantines and losing multiple seniors from last year’s team, the Vikings clawed their way to an undefeated regular season at 10-0, only to suffer one of the toughest losses in recent memory in the first round of the playoffs.

The Vikings played the Shelby Golden Lions to a 1-1 tie in regulation in the playoffs. The teams played through four overtimes and eight rounds of shootouts to determine a winner. Unfortunately for North Forsyth, the ball bounced the other way and Shelby came away with the victory.  

Based upon what he had coming back and the incoming freshman players, North Forsyth head coach, Dan Proctor, says he knew they had the makings of a good team, but with the lack of an offseason and ample practice time, he did not know how quickly his team could gel as a unit.

“I definitely knew we had the talent, because I had seen it last year when we were training, but anytime you replace seven starters, you’re never 100 percent sure how the season is going to work out,” said Proctor. “Since I have been there as an assistant or head coach, we’ve never had to replace so many starters in one year, so going in, there was a little mystery to how we were going to do and how we were going to come together as a team, especially since we weren’t able to train the way we normally train every year.

“We kind of have this formula that we’ve figured out over the years of what works best to get the kids ready and that didn’t happen. Then we got pushed back and pushed back and we finally get started and then we get hit with a quarantine after a week of practices. So by the time we played our first game, we only had about four practices.”

Because of a rainout, the Vikings had to play their first two games on back-to-back days. According to Proctor, his team figured things out very quickly and made the necessary adjustments to become a better team.

“We played our first game at Atkins and had the normal first game issues with positioning and not executing the way I wanted us to, but it’s what you expect after a first game,” Proctor continued. “I was really surprised with how well and how quickly we responded from game one to game two and that was without going out and having a training session.

“Their positioning was a lot better. They were moving the ball around the way we wanted it to and everything was starting to come together and we are sitting there after two games and we haven’t given up a goal and we were like ‘Wait a minute, we may be going in the right direction,’ and then it kept building and building and building.”

The scheduling for this season has not been like any other for Proctor. He said his team played the first five games of the season in a month’s time; however, they had to play the remaining five games in two weeks.

“This season has been strange,” he said. “Outside of COVID, we have had so many weather issues. This isn’t something you normally have during the boy’s season, because usually during the boy’s season, you play through the rain because it’s 90 degrees, but when it’s 40 degrees and raining, it’s a whole different story. So, dealing with that was new.”

For the season, the Vikings only gave up three goals in 11 games. The defensive effort was something the team took a lot of pride in.

“We made it through the first six games without conceding a goal and it was a real pride of effort for our defense,” he said. “We had some games that were kind of lopsided and the defense can sometimes check in and check out, but they were dialed in those games like it was a 0-0 game. They were trying to go the entire regular season without giving up a goal.”

Proctor gave a lot of the credit to the kids for the stellar season the Vikings had. He says there was a noticeable change in attitude for the team that happened last year that carried over to this year.

“A lot of it comes down to the kids,” he went on to say. “This year and last year, the then-juniors last year that are seniors this year, and the seniors last year; there was very much a change in their attitude. Those two classes of kids really wanted to put their mark on the program.”

The Vikings were confident heading into their playoff game against Shelby. North Forsyth had a little extra motivation due to the Golden Lions being the same team that put the Vikings out of the playoffs the year before.

“It’s never fun when you have a great season and your first-round game of the playoffs is the team that put you out of the playoffs the year before,” Proctor said about the game. “We were both senior-heavy teams the year before, so it was going to be a little bit different going into the game. It kind of came down to what team was going to dig in more. They played their game, we played ours.”

Proctor says he has not gone back and watched the entire game because “it was a little difficult.” From what he has seen of the film, his team accomplished what they set out to do when it came to the game plan.

“We just didn’t finish a lot of chances,” said Proctor. “We probably had three or four really good chances where it deflected off the post or it took a deflection off a player. We had one sequence where we had three shots point blank.  I think the keeper stopped one, the post got one, then it took a deflection off a defensive player and was cleared out of the zone.

“The kids did everything that we set out to do. It’s just unfortunate in games, sometimes the ball bounces in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Proctor says his players gave everything they had by never giving up during the game and he was proud of them for that.

“I did not see any quit from anyone that stepped out on the field and as a coach, that’s all we can ask for,” he said. “I just hate that we had such a great regular season and it kind of just fizzles out in the first round. It’s unfortunate, but they played a great game and Shelby played a great game.”

After a grueling game in regulation, Proctor says there was some anxiety as the teams went into overtime. His team had prior experience with overtime and penalty kicks, so Proctor was confident his team could rise to the occasion. He was disappointed for his players that they were not able to come away with the victory.

The foundation for this season was built last season, said Proctor. He says the new starters “worked their butt off in practice” to earn more minutes on the field this season. He feels the battles on the practice field last season really helped the new starters in their roles this season.

“If they had not practiced so well last year and been so invested last year, we would not have had the success we had this year,” he said about his team. “Those kids that stepped up this year, I have got to give them full credit. They worked hard every single practice, all season long and nobody quit on the team.”

Proctor has won multiple conference championships and made a couple of deep runs in the playoffs during his tenure at North Forsyth. He credits the previous coach, John Timmons, for building a “family” with the soccer program. Proctor was an assistant with Timmons for six seasons before taking over as head coach.

Proctor said his team was as balanced as any team he has ever had. If they would have been able to get past Shelby, he would have loved to see how his team progressed because they were so ‘“special.”

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors