isn't exactly sure how it started, but he does know why and when.
The imminently successful coach of the Jacksonville (N.C.)
boys soccer team looks to his first NCHSAA championship team in 2005 to help explain why it's still on an inexorable roll today.
Jacksonville, the NCHSAA 3A champs in 2012, is one of 10 fall boys teams to be honored as a national title Early Contender, presented by adidas and Dick's Sporting Goods.
"The Jacksonville area has been a hotbed of soccer for a while, for both boys and girls," Miller said."There are a lot of great programs in our area, but we won our first state championship with that great group we had in '05, and there was just something about them. That team helped establish something that still carries us, that helped us establish a tradition. The work and the dedication is there every year."
2-1 win over Hickory
in last season's NCHSAA 3A final at North Carolina State University marked their fourth title game appearance in the last eight years. They've also advanced to the East Regional final eight times in a row.See all the 2013 Fall Soccer Early Contenders
Miller, who also coaches the successful Jacksonville girls team
in the spring, expects the boys to be highly competitive again in the fall as they return a solid contingent of veteran players, led in part by senior forward/midfielder Warren Washington
(32 goals, 29 assists in 2012).
"Warren's a leader and a hard worker, a real good example of what we do, and he's a great influence on our younger players coming up through the program," Miller said. "We lost some very good players from last year's team, but we have a lot of good ones returning, and the ones coming off the bench know they have a lot to live up to. They know they have to be ready."
Being that Jacksonville is one of the high schools serving the United States Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, it knows something about being ready. Ready is what the area does best.
The Jacksonville soccer team has truly taken the task to heart.See the entire Jacksonville boys soccer photo galleryLocal outlook:
"One of the Cardinals' biggest strengths has been their depth. Coach Dave Miller has played many of the reserves during lopsided matches, which has given younger players a lot of experience for the future. Also, while they have been very good since 2005, the years the team made the state finals (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2012), the team has not had just one go-to offensive player. These teams have been well balanced offensively. Defensively, the Cards have also been strong. Since 2005, Jacksonville has had five players named the Jacksonville Daily News
Defensive Player of the Year."- Chris Miller, Jacksonville Daily News (@JDNsports)