The East Ridge Knights are the defending State Champions in Class 7A. They embark on the 2023 soccer season with the sweet taste of victory lingering from their magical run last year. The Knights, under the astute leadership of Coach John Quirk, concluded the previous season with a stellar 19-3-1 record, culminating in a triumphant 3-0 victory over Newsome in late February to clinch the State Championship title.
A crucial factor in their success was the formidable defense spearheaded by Nicholas Aquilino, who proved relentless in the net, conceding only 11 goals throughout the entire season. The dynamic duo of Max Kempany and Amir Taylor emerged as standout attackers and forwards, contributing significantly to the team’s offensive prowess.
The 2023 title marked East Ridge’s first-ever State Championship victory, a testament to Coach Quirk’s transformative impact on the program over the past few seasons. Despite the departure of lead goal scorer Rafael Enriquez and Gabriel Perez, both of whom graduated, the Knights retain the exciting presence of Amir Taylor and the formidable goalkeeping skills of Nicholas Aquilino.
As the Knights face the challenge of defending their title, new talents have stepped up to fill the void left by graduating players. Seniors Haytham Abdalla and Tyson Brown have already made their mark this season, each scoring goals during the Westminister Christian game.
The early part of the season presents East Ridge with formidable opponents, but as November progresses, the team is expected to settle in and showcase its true potential. They are just coming off their second win of the season against Lake Minneola and head into the Thanksgiving break sitting at 2-2. While there is no denying the challenges that come with defending a state championship, the Knights, fueled by a blend of seasoned veterans and emerging talents, appear poised to meet the task head-on. Soccer enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the unfolding of the season, eager to witness how East Ridge will navigate the road to defend their hard-earned championship.
Photo Credit (Lynn Ramsey SB Live)