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Apr. 10—What began as a dream has turned into an ever-closer possible reality for McAlester.
McAlester's girls soccer team is a relatively new program compared to some of its counterparts, but has seen exponential growth with each passing year. Coach Charlotte Moss has been around for a lot of those years, and is proud to see what the program has become — and the bright future ahead.
"To me, when you have a full coaching staff for the boys and a full coaching staff for the girls, it just shows that the district's behind you and supports the sport," Moss said. "And is wanting to grow it in our area."
Soccer continues to be a growing sport in the United States and Oklahoma, but Moss remembers the struggles of the early days and when there was not a lot of interest in the area.
But since then, popularity has skyrocketed, and McAlester has made its way through the trials, tribulations, and growing pains to issue a solemn statement — we're here to stay.
"When I first started, the future of the program was a little questionable at that point," Moss said. "And now, I feel like we're fielding teams consistently. It just continues to grow, the youth program continues to grow, and I think at this point we've established it's here to stay.
"It's time to continue to move to the next level with it," she said.
Moss said that last year's prospects looked promising, but it was all taken away due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of spring sports. But those dreams and aspirations merely transferred over to this season, and the Lady Buffs are putting in the work to make those goals possible.
"We're hopeful," Moss laughed. "We understand how heartbreaking that was last year to put in the time we did and not get to finish it."
One such goal is making a playoff appearance for the first time in program history. And to do that, the Lady Buffs will be making their way through district play in the next few weeks.
It'll be the first time they've been able to actually play in the new district after last season was canceled before it began. But now, McAlester has been bulldozing its way past the competition, earning a 9-2 overall record and a spot as one of the top teams in the district at 3-0.
With the playoffs set to begin in May, the Lady Buffs have put themselves on a path to potentially seal their spot in the postseason for the first time ever. And that's a testament to all the hard work that has not only gone into this season, but from all the years building before it.
"It's been a real honor to be a part of the program and just watch it grow," Moss said. "With wins and all that, we're happy with the high expectations that we have. But it's just really — in times like this — it's nice to be able to look back and see how far you've come."
Contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.