Boys soccer: Wheeler whips up a winner in melting pot

You’d be hard-pressed to find a team that supports the notion of harmonic convergence more than the Wheeler boys.

The Wildcats, who are in the midst of a stretch of two weeks with no games, have on their roster representatives of at least eight countries if you count head coach Salomon Corella, who is a two-time national champion boxer in his native Panama. Corella ran track and cross country at Kennesaw State and prides himself on the conditioning of his team.

At 9-2-2 overall and 3-1 in Region 5-AAAAA, the Wildcats appear to have made a step forward from last year’s 11-5 campaign, and they garnered attention with their penalty-kick win over No. 1-ranked Lassiter two weeks ago.

“The guys are playing very very well,” said Corella. “They are like soldiers. They know what we have to accomplish and they go do it.”

Corella said community coach Mickey McNeill is the primary tactician on the sideline, and he noted that the diverse backgrounds of his players – among them they hail from Peru, Argentina, Holland, Brazil, Japan, Indian, Gambia and Nigeria – has helped them adjust on the fly.

Their leading scorer (seven goals), Joao Silva, is Brazilian, followed by Martaijn Edelman (Holland, six goals).
Corella speaks Spanish and English and said he understands Portugese and Italian. He has players who speak Japanese, French and Swahili.

“Our team is a melting pot,” said Corella. “ We have five different langages.We have made this team from people all over the world. That’s probably one of the biggest assets on the team … they adapt easily.”

Park rising: Clayton County is not known as a soccer hotbed, but the Forest Park boys are putting together an impressive season. They’ve posted seven shutouts and they’re 11-2 (counting a reported forfeit win over Drew Friday night), and they’re in a position to run the table in 4-AAAA. The real test will come in the playoffs, when they Panthers will face a team from Region 3.

Sharp in Sharpsburg:
East Coweta claimed its 10th straight win Friday night, beating Northgate 3-1 to complete a perfect run through the Coweta Cup. The Indians (11-1, 7-0 in 2-AAAAA) have already sewn up the regular-season region championship, and they’ll gear for playoff competition with April non-region games against Milton, Brookwood, Collins Hill and Alexander.

Coaches: Please send updates on your team to ajcbsoccblog@gmail.com.

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