SEBRING – It may have only been a preseason game, but for the Sebring Blue Streaks and Avon Park Red Devils boys soccer programs, it is a huge measuring stick to where their programs are a week before the regular season starts.
The Red Devils scored an early goal on a 40-yard free kick by Kalab Ramos and were able to hold on to that lead to beat the Blue Streaks by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday night at Firemen’s Field.
For the Red Devils, in their third year under Head Coach Lee Albritton, a former Avon Park soccer standout, this may signal the turning point of a program that has struggled the past several years.
“It always feels good to beat Sebring,” said Albritton. “Being Avon Park born and raised, it has been two years since I and Coach Virkler took over. We have been right there and now we finally got over the hump. Hopefully this will get the ball rolling in the direction that we envisioned two years ago.”
Sebring is also going through a transition with a new head coach with a familiar face, as former Lake Placid Head Coach James Ashley returned after a several year hiatus to take the helm of the Blue Streaks.
“I love this team, ” said Ashley. “We have some areas to grow in and tonight’s game showed us what they were. We’ve got to do better in the air and when we are wide, we have to do better in getting the ball in front of the goal.”
The Blue Streaks will play Okeechobee and Clewiston next week.
“They are going to be tough,” said Ashley. “They will present challenges to us. We are going to be a team that is planning to improve each game.”
Avon Park will start its regular season next week with two home games. The Red Devils will host Fort Meade on Tuesday and Tenoroc on Thursday.