Irmo soccer bouncing back after rough 2016 campaign
By C.R. Cumbee
Irmo—Traditionally, the Irmo boys’ soccer program has been one of the best in the state. The 2016 season seemed like an aberration as the Yellow Jackets struggled with youth and inexperience.
This spring, Irmo is an improved group, currently holding an 8-4 record, including a 5-3 mark in conference play, good for third in the standings.
“Last year we were below .500 in the region and overall, so our goal was to improve on that. We’d like to get a home playoff game, which is a top two or three finish,” third-year head coach Stephen Duerr said.
“Right now we’re about on track. We’ve already matched our wins from last year and surpassed our region wins, and we still have five region games to go. We’re disappointed with a couple losses, but overall we’re pleased with our progress.”
The Yellow Jackets have challenged themselves with difficult opponents all year long. Not only do they compete in one of the best regions in the state, but they also faced top non-conference teams like Wando, Mauldin and Chapin.
“We intentionally scheduled as tough as we could to prepare for what we’re going to see in the playoffs. If we play at our best, I don’t see any reason we can’t go as far as we want to,” Duerr said.
Midfielder Will Dudley and forward Teddy Tarekegne have been the leading goal scorers for Irmo this season while defender Shaheen Ramezani has anchored a strong back line.
Forward Jordan Johnson has been a huge surprise for the Yellow Jackets, earning a starting position as a freshman.
“He has been a standout for us,” Duerr said of Johnson. “I think he can end up being the best player in the state. He can for sure play in college and could have the opportunity to possibly play for a professional academy. Whatever he wants, if he works hard enough, he’s good enough to get there.”
Other starters for Irmo this year include goalkeeper Eric Garcia-Nieto and defenders Kyle Bland, Davis Cassell and David Cates. Also seeing plenty of action are midfielders Jack Holliday, Jorge Rosas and Gabe McCleery. James Dooley and Halim Ransom are the forwards.
Rounding out the roster is Chantz Emerick, Aaron Hannus, Stephen Reeves, Adam Johnston, Reese Farr, Jackson Brazzell, Aung San and Angel Camarena.