Jun. 23—After a thrilling finish to the season for the Class 5A state champion Johnson High boys in May, another good piece of news came out Tuesday.
Based on polling by the United Soccer Coaches Association, the Knights (21-1-1) finished ranked No. 4 in the entire nation.
This particular poll, Knights coach Frank Zamora said, is one of the most respected for prep soccer.
With the last ranking of 2022, Johnson went wire to wire in the top 10 in the entire country.
"(Finishing fourth in the country) shows that hard work pays off," Zamora said. "To be recognized nationally is a benefit of all the work that goes into our entire program."
Being ranked nationally is becoming common for the Knights, but certainly something that is not taken for granted.
And with eight starters expected back in 2023, led by senior Jorge Sandoval, the Times Boys Soccer Player of the Year, the Knights are primed for another deep run as they move down to Class 4A.
This season, Johnson won a thrilling come-from-behind 4-2 state championship match against St. Pius X on May 5 in Powder Springs.
It marked the Knights' first state championship since 2018.
Zamora is especially proud of his program for checking off all three of their goals for the season: win region, state and pass 100 percent of their courses.
In addition to winning the state championship, the Knights soccer program carried a GPA that averaged out to 3.5, Zamora said.
"To achieve all three of our goals is huge," Zamora said. "It makes me proud as a teacher and coach to see their success."
Johnson's coach is also extremely proud of the fact that all seven of his graduating seniors will be attending either college or technical school, starting in the fall.
Angel Sagrero, a midfielder, will be playing at Georgia Southern University.
In 2020, Johnson finished the pandemic-shortened season ranked No. 1 nationally in the same poll.
This season, Harrison, out of Cobb County, finished No. 1 in the country after winning the Class 6A state championship.