Boys soccer ends a historic 2023 season, looks forward to 2024


Luke Miller, Chelsea Buzz Reporter

The 2023 boys’ soccer season came to a close last week, and while the Hornets failed to meet all of their goals, they did reach several collective and individual milestones that made this season one to remember.

For the first time since 2019, the boys’ soccer team made the playoffs, which is no easy feat in Class 7A. After an 1-3 start to area play, the Hornets’ backs were against the wall. However, through sheer force of character, Chelsea flew past Hewitt-Trussville 4-0, and scraped out a thrilling 2-1 OT victory over Spain Park, despite being down a man, to book their ticket to the playoffs. 

Head Coach Lee Miller expressed his admiration for the profound attitude and effort his team gave to achieve their goal of making the playoffs. 

“This team had a minimum goal of reaching the playoffs, and we achieved that goal despite a lot of people thinking we couldn’t,” said Miller. “The part of that achievement that makes me most proud is that we had to overcome so much difficulty to get there.”

Through trials and tribulations, Miller and his boys stuck together and never lost sight of their goal.

“I’m really proud of the way we overcame adversity,” Miller said. “I’m proud of the ‘never give up’ attitude.”

Finally, the day of the playoffs came. The Hornets’ Round of 16 match-up pitched them against Hoover. Despite a good fight, the Hornets suffered a 2-0 loss to the Buccaneers, which saw their season and their state championship aspirations evaporate.

Chelsea finished 2023 with a record of 16-7-2, the most wins they have recorded in a season since their Final Four run in 2011. 

The Hornets’ defensive players were collectively and individually brilliant this season, which proved to be key to their success. Senior leaders and center-back duo Isaac Tindall and Dylan David led the team in blocked shots, managing 11 apiece. Senior defensive midfielder Davis Spencer broke the school record for interceptions in a season with 73, which also put him at #1 in career interceptions. Freshman left back Luke Miller, who previously held the single season interceptions record, led the team in tackles won for the second year in a row, with 50. Finally, junior goalkeeper Brock Marlow was a revelation in net, leading the team with 92 saves and 9 shutouts. 

Coach Miller made it clear that despite the individual defensive efforts several players made, it was a collective effort to keep opposing teams out that led to the Hornets’ defensive success this season.

“It was an entire team mentality that created our defensive prowess,” Miller said. “We feel like our defensive work was a result of the efforts of all 11 guys defending together as a unit.”

Chelsea’s defensive unit allowed just 1.16 goals per game this season, the best ratio in program history.

The Hornets were not short on attacking weapons, however. Sophomore Max Wever netted a team-high 13 goals on the season. Andrew Teixeira, Kaleb Bass, and Luke Miller all managed double-digit goals and assists in 2023, the most assists being Bass’ 15. Bass’ outstanding efforts on the field were rewarded when he was voted team MVP for the second year in a row.

Chelsea graduated six seniors in 2023: Dylan David, Davis Spencer, JP Barron, Leighton Garrard, Andrew Teixeira, and team captain Isaac Tindall. Tindall and Teixeira will be continuing their soccer careers at the next level. They will play college soccer at the University of West Alabama and Southern Union State Community College, respectively. The class of 2023 all look back on their careers at Chelsea High School satisfied with the legacy they have left for the next generation. 

“I left a big impact in the role of captain and what leadership is supposed to be in the world of soccer,” said Tindall. “I am definitely going to miss all the friendships, teammates, coaches, and fans that made this season just perfect for me and everybody else.”

Though the seniors will be dearly missed, Coach Miller and his squad are already looking ahead to the 2024 season and preparing to build on their playoff run. 

“We’re losing some very good seniors, but we feel great about the level of talent we have coming back,” said Miller. “We know we will face another big battle to return to the playoffs, but that is our expectation, and I think we feel we can advance once we get there. This team had to play in a lot of big important games this season, and when your players experience those environments, they are more prepared for them. I think we’ll carry that experience into next season and use it to push ourselves forward. We believe 2023 was the best team we’ve ever fielded, and we also believe we can be better in 2024.”