Jordan's ultimate goal would get Githens assist
Woven into the fabric of Jordan High School’s soccer success is a string of talent from Githens Middle School.
When the Falcons resume their run toward a state championship in the 4-A playoffs against New Hanover in Wilmington on Wednesday, Jordan coach Don Jones will lead into battle a team that includes Henry Hannapel, Lawain Howell, Huntley Munn, Christian Aguilera and Kaushik Puranam, who all played soccer at Githens.
Githens is Jordan’s main feeder school. That’s a big deal, because Githens coach Scott Michaels has built quite a program.
“They’ve been big contributors for us,” Jones said about the talent coming out of Githens.
Githens recently netted its fifth straight Durham Athletic Conference championship, a 5-4 win over Carrington on Oct. 24.
The Raiders were down 2-0 but came back and edged Carrington with a winning goal by Luis Rivas, his second score of the match. John West, Orlin Roque and Edgar Turcios each scored a goal for Githens.
West and Roque captained the Raiders.
Githens has dominated the DAC, and the Raiders’ recent 13-0 season was one of three undefeated runs over their past five championship campaigns.
The Raiders who become Falcons show up at Jordan with an ingrained sense of winning, Jones said.
“That success and expectation carries over,” Jones said.
Michaels said he tends to coach guys from varied backgrounds who arrive at Githens with solid soccer skills, so his approach is more tactical than technical.
“It’s like a great jigsaw puzzle, and you’ve got all the pieces. You just have to figure out how to put it together,” Michaels said. “It’s just a matter of mixing those folks together and getting them to play well with each other.
“It’s been really neat fusing all these kids together.”
There was a season when Githens had players from South Korea, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador, Michaels said.
“It’s like the United Nations for soccer,” Michaels said about his program. “ So amazing having people from all over the planet on one middle school team. It makes the experience even more awesome.”
Taking some oomph out of the experience, though, is the increasing struggle of convincing parents to allow young men who play very competitive club soccer to suit up for middle school ball, too, Michaels said.
Some club soccer coaches don’t want their players on school teams. High school basketball coaches fight a similar battle with respect to student-athletes who play on Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams.
“It’s getting intense earlier,” Michaels said. “That’s the nature of youth sports now.”
While a whole lot of basketballs are bounced along Tobacco Road, there are plenty of soccer balls getting kicked around here, too, due in part to the influx of Latino people and others from locales where soccer is popular, Michaels said. As well, there is very solid college soccer at Duke and North Carolina, in addition to more and more soccer highlights on ESPN these days, he said.
“There’s a hotbed of soccer activity in this area, and people take it really seriously,” Michaels said.