Published Sunday, March 03, 2013
By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Fresh off a summer with the Haitian National U20 soccer team, Rinaldi Alphonse may be poised to lead Trinity Christian’s boys varsity to its most successful season yet.
Now if only Mother Nature would cooperate.
“We haven’t been able to do a whole lot because of the weather situation,” said Trinity head coach Chad Whittle, whose teams will play games at Whitlock Park again this year while the school works on finishing its new fields. “We’re going to be very young team on the boys side. We’re going to have to rely on our ninth, tenth and even some of our eighth graders.”
Trinity Christian's season opener against LaFayette last Tuesday was washed out. Teams now hope to open the season this Tuesday at home against new Region 1-AAA rival The Weber School on another day forecast for rain.
Alphonse, an All-State center midfielder for the Lions last season while among the team’s leading point scorers, expects to be a centerpiece among a young boys lineup this spring in the program’s second season since joining the GISA.
Playing organized soccer since the age of three after moving to Fort Lauderdale, Alphonse has equally excelled at the club level since arriving in Georgia in the sixth grade while playing for the Concorde Fire, AFC Lightning and more recently the UFA’s 95 Elite U18 team, ranked fifth in the state for its age group.
The chance to play with Haiti’s National U18-20 lineup this summer, which won games against Bermuda (3-0) and Barbados (2-0) provided an opportunity to play at the international level before more recently signing a letter of intent to play collegiately at USC-Upstate.
“I had a great time with the team. It was a high level of soccer and very competitive,” he said. “The thing I liked was that we pushed each other to our limits. I learned a lot from the older players.”
Alphonse won’t be alone among returning starters while joined by sophomore Keith Lyons on defense. But the team will also have holes to fill in the lineup, including in goal, while moving into a region including The Heritage School, Dominion Christian, The Weber School and Holy Spirit.
Trinity Christian was coming off a first GISA season where a young lineup with just three seniors struggled while grouped with traditionally strong programs in Macon. Alphonse is among just three seniors among this year’s team.
“I expect this region to be just as competitive,” Whittle said. “Holy Spirit and Dominion will be tough matchups. It’ll be a learning year for us.”
The Lady Lions enter their third season of GISA soccer hoping to build off a large junior class including center midfielder and captain Cora Gwinn. Also returning is senior standout Hannah Miller.
Senior volleyball standout Rachel Lyons joins the team this season and will play up front.