Although the Panthers are coming off a disappointing 2-14 season, they’ll begin play in the USA South Conference this fall feeling good about themselves thanks to a strong recruiting class and a solid group of returnees.
“We’ve got a good recruiting class coming in. We’re sitting at 12 right now with the possibility of a couple more,” said Jeff Geeter, who’ll be returning for his 22nd season as the Panthers’ coach. “We feel good about it. And the group we have coming back, they’ve worked really hard.”
For years, the Panthers were a member of the Great South Athletic Conference.
This fall, the Panthers will make the leap into the USA South.
The Panthers will have some familiar foes in the conference including Maryville, and they’ll also be getting to know a lot of new teams.
“It’s going to be very challenging,” Geeter said. “It’s going to be real good competition. It’s basically taking the GSAC and doubling it.”
After going 7-8 in 2010, the Panthers were hoping to put together the program’s first winning record since 1993 a year ago.
It didn’t happen, but there were bright spots.
Sophomore goal keeper Donnie Palmer, a LaGrange High graduate, had a terrific season and was named the team’s MVP.
Another sophomore, Callaway High graduate Jeremy Ham, tied for the team lead in goals despite missing five games with an injury.
Geeter said the players have been doing their part in the offseason to make sure they’re ready to go this fall.
“The kids have worked very hard,” said Geeter, who mentioned that a number of the players participated in an indoor soccer league in the offseason. “I hope they keep it up in the summer.”