Sharing the field: High school soccer all star games feature several local competitors, state champs

Daniel Mayes/Daily Citizen-News

Dalton High School's Ivan Ceja and Southeast Whitfield's Julian Hernandez get tangled up in an April contest. Both will share the field on team Georgia in an upcoming high school soccer all-star game.

The state championship boys soccer teams from Coahulla Creek, Dalton and Southeast Whitfield high schools shared the stage in downtown Dalton at a celebration last month.

On June 20, some of them will be sharing the field.

The annual Georgia vs. Tennessee high school soccer all-star games are set for CHI Memorial Stadium in East Ridge, Tennessee, home of the Chattanooga Red Wolves (a professional soccer team), and the rosters for the Georgia side may look familiar to soccer fans in Whitfield County. Of the 20-player roster on the boys side, 18 hail from high schools in Whitfield County. Seniors from the three recent state champions make up a large portion of the roster, with three representatives from Northwest Whitfield joining the group. The final two roster spots go to players from Calhoun and Gordon Central.

"I've known some of those guys for a long time," said Eddie Rodriguez, a goalkeeper from Southeast Whitfield who is on the Georgia roster. "It's cool to get to go out one last time and represent my school."

Like Rodriguez, it's the last chance for all of the players to represent their high school teams. The rosters are made up of 2021 graduates.

The games are June 20, but a time hasn't yet been locked in, said Hector Holguin, the coach at Southeast Whitfield and for team Georgia. The girls play first, followed by the boys. The Red Wolves are scheduled to play against North Carolina FC at home at 7 that night.

"It's an honor to get to coach these guys," Holguin said.

Joining Rodriguez are Southeast Whitfield's Lupe Beltran, Joel Fraire, Salvador Garcia, Carlos Gloria, Julian Hernandez and Daniel Orrellana. From Dalton, Ivan Ceja, Nestor Mendez, Anthony Palacios, Filemon Quintero and Damian Rodriguez will suit up. Manny Arredondo, Ronaldo Medina and Jaime Mendiola from Coahulla Creek made the roster, while Northwest's Fabian Lara, Fabian Navarro and Yahir Zapata join them.

The girls roster, coached by Coahulla Creek's Shannon Coley, has some local flavor as well.

Ashley Cabrera and Jailyne Martinez represent Northwest after leading the Lady Bruins to their first Final Four this season. Athena Critides from Christian Heritage and Lupita Martinez from Southeast Whitfield also will suit up.

Holguin led the boys team in their first practice Thursday. They'll practice once a week leading up to the game, but Holguin said the team is already starting to jell.

"There's a lot of chemistry between some of those guys," Holguin said. " A lot of them have played together before in club soccer or indoor."

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