THOMASVILLE — After a tough and early first round playoff exit in a 1-0 loss to Jackson, the Thomasville girls soccer team has retooled, bringing in first year head coach Lucas Kimmel. Kimmel served as an assistant coach with the boys soccer team before being named the girls head coach.
“We just felt like he was the best fit because he’s from this area, he has a lot of soccer background,” said Thomasville High School athletic director Jeremy Rayburn after the hire. “We felt like his knowledge was where it needed to be and the relationship he has with the kids that are already here obviously played a factor.”
“It is something new, for sure, but it has been going well,” Kimmel said. “I got to watch some of their games last year and I’m looking forward to building off what I saw last year and what I’ve seen so far during pre-season.”
The Bulldogs had a decent season on the pitch last year, finishing 8-6-1 with only one region loss. They picked up solid wins in the regular season like a 10-0 win over Monroe and victories over Cairo, Valdosta and Brookwood.
Unfortunately, Thomasville finished the regular season with two big losses, leading them into a first round playoff exit to Jackson.
The limited playoff success is something that Kimmel is hoping to change quickly.
“I’m pretty sure the last few years the girls program hasn’t made it past the first round, so that’s definitely one goal,” Kimmel said. “And then, obviously, a winning record is something you want, but we do schedule harder teams, so that can be difficult at times.”
When asked who is going to step up, most coaches point to seniors, those with the most experience and often times the most leadership qualities. But, Kimmel looked to the future, pointing toward his strong sophomore class and a strong group of eighth graders, which he believes will largely elevate the Thomasville girls soccer program next year.
“Those that play club, those that have played at a little bit more of a challenging level with their club teams to step up for next year as well,” said Kimmel. “We have a very promising eighth grade class. I’m looking for a very very good team next year.”
Thomasville’s first scrimmage will take place on Tuesday against Lee County and the regular season will begin on February 6 with a home game against Bainbridge.