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Covington Galaxy wins preseason soccer tournament
The Covington Galaxy U16 team took home the championship at the RYSA Fall Kickoff Classic. The team consists of: Edwin Mendoza, Alastair Chalmers, Christopher Martin, Saheim Quamina, Isaiah Cummings, David Wright, Jalen Bennett, Jose Ramos, Abdiel Velasquez, Jayden Quamina, Daniel Ayala, Justin Wade, Cooper Tafelski, Chase Wilson, Liam McGiboney, Coach Brent Bennett and Coach Dean Quamina. - photo by Submitted Photo

Fall soccer season is quickly approaching, and Covington Galaxy Soccer has already got a taste of victory.
The Under-16 Boys Premier Division team played this past weekend in the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association (RYSA) Fall Kickoff Classic, taking on the Putnam Impact from Putnam County.

The Covington Galaxy won three out of its four games, including the final championship. The team tied its first game 4-4, then won 4-2, 9-2 and 3-0 over the next three games in the preseason tournament.

“We have a few new players who have never really played at this level before, so this was a good experience for them,” said head coach Brent Bennett. “We were more concerned about how we played rather than winning, because it’s a preseason tournament. Adding the winning is always great, but we wanted to see how we could play and how we could compete, so that’s why we entered this tournament. We’re very happy.”

Galaxy Soccer was first started 11 years ago in 2005 by Bennett and Mike Norton as a way to give kids a chance to play at a higher level.

“We started it because we wanted our kids to participate in more competitive soccer rather than recreational soccer,” Bennett said. “Mike and I started the program with one U10 team, and gradually we grew and grew and grew to what we are today. The goal for me was not only to play competitive soccer but to develop young men, and I think we continue to do that.”

According to Bennett, there are approximately 150 kids currently in the program. A lot of them have hopes of playing soccer long term.

“The U16 team is a combination of kids that are in 8th, 9th and 10th grade, so my thing is for these kids to develop at the next level so they can play on competitive varsity teams in high school and hopefully some of them go on to play in college,” Bennett said. “In fact, I had two of my players last year go on to play in college. That’s my goal, to get these kids to graduate high school and go on to college and become young men and give back to the community.”

As the program gets ready for the 2016-2017 season, Bennett’s focus remains growing the program and fostering a welcoming environment for his players.

“Our kids are really good kids,” Bennett said. “We have kids that come and go like every other soccer organization, but we have some kids that have been here for a few years as well, some who have come since U8. It’s really good and fulfilling to see these kids grow.”