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Eastside boys soccer setting standard for future of program
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams watches and coaches as the Eastside Eagles battle against Region 8-AAAAA foe Loganville at home on Feb. 21. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

COVINGTON, Ga. — Transitioning through new players and coaching personnel is not easy, but the Eastside boys soccer team feels revamped and ready to make noise in the years to come.

After going 4-10 last season, the Eagles named Anthony Williams as the new head coach for the Eastside Eagles. Now, they look to begin the journey back to the state playoffs.

While Eastside sits with a 3-7 record currently, Williams emphasized that every game is a moment for the team to get better as his first season coaching ensues. 

“It has been fun, it has been a good transition,” Williams said. “Despite our record, we come out of every game with a positive mindset. We try to figure out what we did right and what we did wrong, it is part of becoming better.”

One immediate challenge that Williams faced the moment he took over the team was the lack of returning seniors.

Going into the 2023 season, the Eagles were only bringing back three seniors: Jesus Mejia, Jace Shirah and Eli Caid. Williams stressed how important the three seniors have been and how each provides something that the team needs in every game.

“Coming into the season with only three seniors and three players with varsity experience. We are in a state of finding out who we are, knowing that we are going against a very competitive region with a lot of talent,” Williams said.

As those three seniors have locked down their veteran presence on the team, Williams made a point to reference underclassmen such as Hudson Harris, who has made quite the impact for the Eagles despite playing varsity as a freshman.

Even though Harris does not have the playing time that some of his teammates do, he provides a lot for the Eagles, playing multiple different positions for Williams on the pitch.

“Hudson Harris is a freshman who plays like he has played varsity all his life,” Williams said. “He is not one of the biggest kids but has one of the biggest hearts.”

Having the talent on the roster does not guarantee success, which is why Williams knows how important it is for the players to buy into his process and preparation.

“Coming in, I know I had to set the standard. I had to set a standard of practice, how to act on and off the field as a student athlete,” Williams said. “I just wanted to make sure I made it concrete of what is expected from everybody.”

Deep into the season, Williams is impressed with the way the team has gelled and how they continue to be consistent in practice and on game days. 

As Williams looks ahead to the back half of his inaugural season at the helm, he has high hopes on what the team can accomplish.

“We just need to build off every game,” Williams said. “To finish strong, it is going to take commitment to working hard every day, not taking any days off and knowing that we represent Eastside and still have games to play.”