Eastside alum Young returns to coach boys soccer
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.’