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March to the Preseason Friendly: Young Harris College


Young Harris College, “Mountain Lions,” NCAA Division II, 11-6-1 in 2016


Louisville City’s first preseason match of 2017!


Saturday, March 4, 2017, 11:00 a.m. EST


Thurman-Hutchins Park on River Road


Well, folks, it’s finally here. Preseason! You’ve waited more than four agonizing months to see Louisville City play soccer again, and tomorrow, it’s gonna happen! Well, for some of you it will.

A few. About 100, anyway, because that’s all the club is letting into their practice facility at Thurman Hutchins Park. Unless you, like me, are a season ticket holder and have Dave Walkovich’s phone number starred in your contacts list, you probably won’t get to see tomorrow’s match against Young Harris College in person. There’s also no radio broadcast and no stream of the match, either. But not to fear! Either I or Jonathan Lintner or someone else you maybe follow on Twitter will probably live-Tweet the match in all its 140-character emoji glory!

So let’s chat Young Harris. YHC is a private Methodist liberal arts college located in northeast Georgia. The town it’s in is actually called Young Harris! I thought that was funny until I remembered there’s a Kentucky town called Monkey’s Eyebrow so let’s move on. Young Harris College was founded more than 130 years ago in the Appalachian Mountains and was a two year junior college for most of its existence until 2008. Notable alumni include the guy who founded Waffle House, Trisha Yearwood, and Ronnie Millsap, and that’s all the advertising I need to send one of my kids there to become a timeless country music superstar who also loves eating waffles at 2 a.m. YHC only has an enrollment of about 1,200, but it has an endowment of $100 million, which is probably safe because James Ramsey doesn’t work there.

The Mountain Lions played on the junior college athletics circuit until 2014 when they were fully admitted to the NCAA’s second division, and play in the Peach Belt Conference, an actual athletic conference of real colleges and universities. They’ve had historically successful men’s and women’s soccer programs, and the men won their third straight conference tournament championship last year.

Young Harris is led by head coach Mark McKeever, who is starting his twelfth year at the school. McKeever is originally from Motherwell, Scotland, which could be why he’s able to pull in guys like Ilja Ilic, Niall McCabe and Paco Craig from Europe over to a tiny town in remote Georgia. That’s where they filmed Deliverance, you know. I’d also point out that Ilic is the team’s all-time leading goal scorer, with 64 goals and 32 assists in his college career.

Anyway, that’s Young Harris. I didn’t scout them, but from the look of things they like to shoot a lot and have some guys with above-average ball skills. This is a preseason friendly, so don’t get too caught up in it. I’m going to be watching to see how the new guys do, how City defends, and how well the new squad moves the ball now that Quinn’s flown the coop. I’ll have a recap up for you sometime after the game.