Editorial: Come out Wednesday night to celebrate our 3 local state soccer champions

For decades, Dalton has been known as "The Carpet Capital of the World." And for good reason.

The carpet industry was born here, raised here and blossomed into the economic engine that drives North Georgia's economy, providing jobs for thousands of people.

Due to the athletic achievements of our Whitfield County high school soccer teams, we may need to add another nickname: "Soccertown, USA."

Last week, three high school boys soccer teams — Coahulla Creek, Dalton and Southeast Whitfield — won the Georgia High School Association state championship in their respective classes. Coahulla Creek won the Class 3A title, Dalton was the Class 6A champion and Southeast Whitfield took home the Class 4A trophy. The teams had dominant seasons as they combined for a 55-2-7 record, with Dalton and Southeast going undefeated.

Now, it's time to celebrate.

There will be a community-wide celebration honoring the teams on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton. The event, aptly called "Soccertown, USA: A Countywide Celebration of Domination," is free and open to the public.

Players will receive T-shirts and "swag bags" stocked full of items from area businesses. A limited amount of the shirts will be available for the public to buy, and proceeds go to the schools' soccer programs. A DJ will spin music, the head coach from each team will speak and city and county officials will attend.

We appreciate all of the folks who have stepped up to put this event together on such short notice. Kudos go out to the businesses and people who have donated items or their time to help make the event a success.

"It's all about these three teams and the success that they've had," said Brad Ramsey, one of the local residents helping organize the event. "It's awesome for this community."

What will make the event complete is you.

Let's have a huge turnout to give these players, coaches, families and friends the recognition they so much deserve. Many of these players saw their 2020 season wiped out due to COVID-19 and wondered if the 2021 season would even happen because of the pandemic's uncertainty. The teams made it through a complete season as they dealt with COVID-19 along the way.

While soccer isn't the most high-profile sport nationally — baseball, basketball and football routinely steal the headlines — it is nonetheless a physically demanding sport requiring hours upon hours of practice. Our local players and coaches have shown their dedication by reaching the pinnacle in the state.

Let's show them our appreciation. And show everyone why Whitfield County is "Soccertown, USA."

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