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Tallahassee Soccer Club prepares for season opener

The team plays the Jacksonville Armada at 7 p.m. Saturday at Gene Cox Stadium.
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 1:15 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee Soccer Club will return to action in the first weekend of May after its 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus. Saturday night, the team has a tough test against the Jacksonville Armada.

Tallahassee SC has been hard at work — beginning with tryouts in December and scrimmages leading up to now. Due to COVID-19, their last game was nearly two years ago, winning the Eastern League Championship in 2019 during their first year as an organization.

At practice this week, the battle lions said they are bouncing back from a year off with support from the city and each other. The team features local high school and college players, as well as adults with day jobs, living their pro soccer dream.

Khari Davis, a senior from Leon High, says the team is a highly competitive and tight-knit group that has the power of youth and the knowledge of the veterans.

Davis says the team is ready and has chemistry from competition against or with each other while growing up in this community.

“We are ready,” he says. “We have been playing with each other and against each other our whole lives. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses because we bonded for so long, we know each other. It makes us more prepared for the season.”

Coach Josh Bruno says the nonprofit member-based team stayed afloat through the pandemic thanks to support from fans and the city.

Team president Chris Petley says this now gives the community a reason to celebrate and a safe way to do it: spread out at the stadium.

Petley says while they love the game, they also play to proudly represent Tallahassee’s history.

Their mascot — the Battle Lion — honors the battalion and heroes of the 1942 World War II U.S. Army Base at Dale Mabry Airfield.

“So we wanted to build on that, and when people ask us about our brand, we get to tell a story many people don’t know about Tallahassee, so that’s important to us,” Petley says.

Petley went on to say the insignia for the 338th Fighter Group at Dale Mabry Field was a winged lion, and their motto was “To the Goal.”

The soccer club now carries that tradition on with its logo. Even their fan support group is called the Olde Fields Batallion. You’ll see them getting rowdy at Saturday’s home opener at 7 p.m. at Gene Cox Stadium.

The team says it plans to honor heroes during a game on Memorial Day weekend.

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