Jesuit soccer secured number one national ranking
TAMPA, Fla. - The Jesuit Tigers are number one. Through the first 12 games of the season, the Jesuit High soccer team has yet to lose a single game.
"We have to prove it to every team we play against, for sure," said Tigers head coach Eric Sims.
The start of the season, coupled with the Tigers' respectable resume, earned the team the top ranking in the first FHSAA poll of the season.
"Enjoy it while it lasts because you never know when it can be taken away from you," says sophomore Dutch Iavarone.
"That's the motivation to keep playing hard. We want to be undefeated, and we want to be number one."
Through the first 12 games of the season the Jesuit High soccer team has yet to lose a single game.
Being ranked as the best team in the state is one thing. Being ranked as the best team in the country is another.
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However, according to the United Soccer Coaches Poll, the Tigers are just that, the number-one team in the entire nation.
"It was definitely a surprise and I think it's something that our players deserve," stated Sims. "Hopefully they'll continue to perform and show that they're the number one team in the country."
Sims, however, has done what any coach would and warned his players about letting rankings get to their heads.
Sims, however, also wants his players to use these rankings as motivation.
Jesuit last won a state title in 2020 and are currently playing in the Tampa Bay Invitaitonal while looking to keep their perfect record alive.
"I would like for them to react with just pure domination: where we dominate from minute one to minute 80," Sims shared.
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Rankings aside, the Tigers' goals haven't changed as they are still chasing the program's eighth state title.
"We're more than just a ranking on a piece of paper because that's all it is at the end of the day," explained Iavarone. "Sure, you're number one on a piece of paper, but when you get on the field that all gets thrown away."
Jesuit soccer practice for upcoming game.
Ranked on paper, however, these are no paper Tigers.
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"We go to war out there, but no one cares what's on a piece of paper," Iavarone said.
Jesuit last won a state title in 2020 and is currently playing in the Tampa Bay Invitational while looking to keep its perfect record alive.