East­side alum Young re­turns to coach boys soc­cer

The Covington News - - Sports - Josh Briggs jbriggs@cov­news.com

For­mer East­side soc­cer stand­out Champ Young is com­ing home. Af­ter play­ing at Gor­don Col­lege and then North Ge­or­gia Col­lege, Young re­turns to his alma mater as the new boys’ soc­cer coach. Young was ap­proved for a cer­ti­fied teach­ing po­si­tion and coach last week at the monthly New­ton County Board of ed­u­ca­tion work session.

Young re­places out­go­ing coach Trent Weiser who was not of­fered a teach­ing con­tract to re­turn as part of the most re­cent staff re­duc­tion at East­side. Weiser was one of two phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers let go due to po­si­tion cuts.

Young has been the sports di­rec­tor at the Cov­ing­ton YMCA for the past year, run­ning the soc­cer pro­gram as well as other youth ath­letic pro­grams. He’s been in­stru­men­tal in the growth of the Cov­ing­ton Galaxy travel soc­cer teams and hopes to bring that same en­thu­si­asm to East­side where he starred as a de­fender for the Ea­gles from 2000-2004.

“East­side is like an­other home for me. I was very ex­cited when the po­si­tion opened back up,” Young said. “I got a call from the ad­min­is­tra­tors and I was very ex­cited. I am very ex­cited to get in there. There’s a lot we can do with the pro­gram that hasn’t been done yet. I’m hop­ing we can take it (the pro­gram) to the next level.’

Young has kept a close eye on East­side’s re­cent suc­cess and his in­volve­ment with the youth pro­grams at the YMCA had given him a gen­uine op­ti­mism head­ing into his first foray in coach­ing.

“The tal­ent level is far bet­ter now than where it was when I was here,” Young said. “Be­ing an alum­nus, I have tried to fol­low the pro­gram to an ex­tent. Teach­ing is what I went to school for and the YMCA job al­lowed me to use my ex­per­tise to help there. I am hopeful I can use that ex­per­tise to build upon what we al­ready have.”

As a col­lege ath­lete, Young un­der­stands what it takes to per­form at a high level. He said he plans on us­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence and hopes to bring some of the tech­niques and train­ing he learned while play­ing col­lege soc­cer.

“Go­ing to col­lege and play­ing, the first thing we do is get in the weight room,” he said. “Weight train­ing is im­por­tant be­cause it cuts down on in­jury. It’s more about keep-

ing the kids healthy than bulk­ing them up. We are def­i­nitely go­ing to get a weight-train­ing pro­gram go­ing be­cause we need guys to stay healthy and be around to play the whole sea­son.’

Over the past sev­eral years, New­ton County has closed the gap in its youth soc­cer pro­gram with re­gard to the tal­ent level in the sur­round­ing ar­eas. With the Rock­dale Youth Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion one county over, the three Rock­dale County schools have built suc­cess­ful soc­cer pro­grams over the past decade. The emer­gence of the YMCA’s soc­cer pro­grams, which Young has been im­mersed in the past year, will close that tal­ent gap even more he hopes.

“That’s the blood­line for the whole thing,” Young said. “The lit­tle pro­gram we’ve built out here is get­ting very big. We've dou­bled in size over the past cou­ple of years. The pro­grams aren’t as big as like RYSA, but they’re get­ting there.”

The fact that Young is also a for­mer player only adds to his mo­ti­va­tion to suc­ceed. He ad­mits it was frus­trat­ing play­ing against the Rock­dale schools while at East­side, when the Ea­gles were a part of Re­gion 8-AAAA and in the same league as the three Rock­dale County schools.

That’s the past though. More re­cently, East­side has be­come the premier team in New­ton County and had much suc­cess. The Ea­gles made it to the sec­ond round of the Class AAA play­offs this year and have reg­u­larly cap­tured the county cham­pi­onship.

“I’m ex­cited about it be­cause I know what the suc­cess can be,” Young said. “Rick Hurst is a great ex­am­ple as he was able to turn that into a foot­ball ma­chine. I think it’s go­ing to be some­thing spe­cial here soon. I think ath­let­i­cally East­side is the premier school in the county. Top to bot­tom I think East­side takes care of their busi­ness bet­ter than any­one.’

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