The Picayune boys’ football team held a football camp for children aged 3 to 13 on Saturday. Men’s soccer head coach Brandon Butler runs the camp once a quarter in an effort to provide a real training experience for the community.
Butler said he and his athletes taught the young participants basic football skills to get them used to having a ball on their feet. The children did drills and small games that incorporated basic football skills, most of which were taught by the players.
“Having these kids here helps build our program,” said Butler.
Butler’s goal for his program is to bring soccer to the level of popularity of football and baseball locally. These camps help introduce soccer to children and hopefully spark their interest in the game.
“If you can give back to the community and to the program, then they are setting up the program to be successful in the future. “
Picayune Memorial High School is scheduled to host a Meet the Tide event on October 28, where members of the varsity and junior soccer programs will be featured.
On this day, the boys and girls soccer teams will regroup into two mixed teams and play a Maroon vs White match.
The event is a great opportunity for the community and fans to get a taste of Maroon Tide football.
“They’re going to be able to show their talents and everyone is going to be able to play,” said Butler.
Butler is excited about the team’s upward trend in the program.
“For me, it can’t go fast enough,” Butler said.
The Maroon Tide will have a full 26-man roster this season, with eight seniors, three juniors and a number of freshmen and sophomores.
“The majority of my team are lower class men, we are young but I think we are good,” said Butler.
Mason Ripoll is one of the many freshmen on the Maroon Tide roster.
Ripoll is the captain and forward of the junior varsity team that Butler praises for his competitiveness during the summer break.
This list of subclasses is led by the main captain, goalkeeper Will Walervis.
“Walervis is a true leader from start to finish,” said Butler.
Walervis and two other seniors, Alex Velasquez and Nick Walervis, are currently wanted by several schools, including Holmes Community College.
Over the summer, the Maroon Tide played two of six games this season against Pass Christian, and in total, the Maroon Tide won both games by a score of 9-2.
The Maroon Tide was short-staffed during the summer as most of the seniors on the team worked for the summer and couldn’t compete in the summer tournaments.
“For me it was a really good performance for these guys,” said Butler.
“There are a lot of teams that I don’t think we’ll have a lot of problems with this season.”
Butler sees a lot of potential for his team to advance to the playoffs this season. Players know their standards and their goal of winning a state championship, leaving a legacy, and coming back and doing it again next year.
When his players give 100 percent, Butler believes there isn’t a single team in their district and state that can beat them.
“I really believe it,” Butler said.
The Maroon Tide kicks off this season on October 23, facing Hancock High School and Poplarville High School in a tournament.