Starting early

Despite some adversity during their season, the Seymour Cyclones girls U13 soccer team was able to finish with an undefeated season.

The Cyclones concluded with an 11-0-2 record for first in the third division of the Indiana Soccer League for the 2015 fall season.

In their end of the season tournament, the  CESC Fall Classic hosted at the Richard Wigh Soccer Center and Blackwell Park in Columbus, the Cyclones outscored their opponents 13-1 through four contest to finish as champions.

At the tourney, in the championship, the Cyclones defeated St. Francis 4-0.

Throughout the season, the Cyclones battled injuries — forcing the group to pull up a number of youngsters.

“We had 13 kids on our roster and three of our better players were in (walking) boots,”  U13 coach Ryan Chandler said. “Two of them missed almost the whole year and the other missed half a year. We were moving up kids from a younger age group.

“It was awesome to see them succeed and play like they did. They worked really hard for this — working year round between the fall and spring seasons and winter workouts. A lot of girls have put a lot of time in. It’s a lot of fun to see them grow and become better players. All 13 kids have really gotten better.”

Many of the kids that moved up were 11 and 12-years-olds.

During their season, the Cyclones travel as far as Batesville. Most of their games are in the Indianapolis and Columbus areas.

Chandler, who is an assistant coach on the Seymour girls varsity team and previously worked with Bloomington North and Jasper high school programs, works closely with other coaches from the SHS high school team.

Fellow Owls assistant-coach Bob Hartman and head coach Greg Musser also coach Cyclones travel teams.

In the spring Musser will coach the U13 group,, so the coaches rotate between teams depending on the season.

“We actually practice together with the U14 teams that (Hartman) coaches,” Chandler said. “We kind of help each other out. Musser coached the team last spring and will take them this spring.

“We’re developing our kids for success at the high school level. We’re just trying to make the area soccer better, no matter where they end up going to school. Right now, out of the 13 girls, 12 are from Seymour.”

Chandler said that youth soccer has transformed in recent times.

“Our youth programs, and recreational programs, have grown a lot over the past five years,” he said. “We have more girls travel teams now than we’ve ever had in Seymour. It’s a good experience. We play to develop, we give kids playing time. We try to develop everyone. We want to keep it kid and parent friendly to make it an enjoyable experience.”

The successes at the youth level have translated to the high school during that span.

“I think we started seeing (success) right now with how we played against Columbus East (in the sectional championship),” Chandler said. “Next year, we have a handful of kids who have played travel soccer coming up. This is a long time coming for a high school program, having experience at the travel before playing on junior varsity and varsity.”

The U13 team will bump up a division next year, and Chandler said that his squad has already played many opponents on that schedule and looks forward to the challenge.