Valley boys soccer program working for respect

Published 9:11 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2019

VALLEY – The Valley boys soccer team is looking to build the culture in head coach’s Cullen Milner’s second year at the helm.

“We are very young,” Milner said. 

The Rams roster this season includes five players from junior high, five freshmen and four seniors. One of the seniors has never played soccer before, and neither have five other players on the team.

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After witnessing a winless 2018, Milner’s spirits are still positive about the group.

“We are progressing really fast,” he said. “We’re trying to see what kind of guys that we have and see how they handle good competition.”

Valley is in a new area this year with Tallassee, Marbury, Elmore County and Holtville. 

“It’s going to be really competitive,” Milner said. “One coach told me that with five teams in our area, it’s always a toss-up. Nobody is going to be a powerhouse so we should have a good shot of competing against teams in our area so we’ll see.”

The key returner for Valley is senior midfielder Levi Sanders. 

“He’s one of the more talented soccer players in the state,” Milner said. “He’ll be our lifeblood, no doubt.”

Sanders has played the game for six years. The senior said that in his last rodeo this season, he wants to give his last shot to change the narrative of Valley soccer.

“I think it’s known that Valley doesn’t have on of the best teams, but I take it as my job to teach the other people who might not have as much skill or knowledge that I do,” Sanders said. “I want to spread as much as I can.”

Senior Cedric Smith will be a key defender for the Rams this season. Senior A.J. Bailey has been in the Valley soccer program since his eighth-grade year and is expected to be the veteran that will “hold the team together,” Milner said. Sophomore Jordan Millaway is going to play as a defender. Sophomore Michael Davis is projected to be one of the team’s top goalkeepers.

With the girls soccer team playing in its inaugural season, this is Valley’s first year in over a decade with an all-boys roster.

“We work hard,” Sanders said. “We work hard to prove that we’re not a joke and that we do want to make a statement.”