This will be a season of transition for area boys and girls soccer programs competing for a Florida High School Athletic Association state championship. A number of changes have been made to the layout of the sport’s landscape by the FHSAA with the addition of two classifications, which impacted nearly every team in some fashion, and by the decision of at least one local powerhouse to compete as an independent.

This will be a season of transition for area boys and girls soccer programs competing for a Florida High School Athletic Association state championship.


A number of changes have been made to the layout of the sport’s landscape by the FHSAA with the addition of two classifications, which impacted nearly every team in some fashion, and by the decision of at least one local powerhouse to compete as an independent.


For the first time in 17 years, the FHSAA added classifications — classes 6A and 7A — after using five classifications since the 2011-2012 season. The last time classifications were added was when the FHSAA jumped from four to six for the 2003-2004 campaign.


The change was made largely because the sport has grown in popularity in recent years and allows for an even distribution of teams based on student-population figures and geography.


With the added classifications, many area teams are changing classifications and districts this season. The changes will create the opportunity to develop new rivalries along with matches against long-established local rivals.


In addition, there will be a new girls state champion crowned in Class 4A after Montverde Academy made the decision to become an FHSAA independent. The Eagles won the last two Class 4A state titles, recording shutouts in each contest.


The change means Montverde, while still permitted to play FHSAA member schools, cannot compete for a state championship. Montverde’s boys team is a longtime independent and is considered one of the top high-school programs in the country.


For boys and girls teams, the district season wraps up on Jan. 18 and the final day of the regular season is Feb. 1. District and regional tournaments follow and run throughout the month of February, with winners advancing to the FHSAA state championships at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium in DeLand.


State finals for boys and girls are set for Feb. 26-29.


AREA TEAM OUTLOOKS


(2018-19 records, according to MaxPreps)


CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 5


East Ridge


Boys record: 2-11-4


Girls record: 8-9-1


Notes: Both teams competed in Class 4A-District 5 last year along with Lake Minneola and Montverde Academy. Neither the Knights’ boys team or girls team made it out of district.


CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 4


South Lake


Boys record: 6-9-3


Girls record: 3-11-1


Notes: The Eagles moved up from Class 4A-District 5. Neither team reached the postseason. The boys team lost 10 seniors off last year’s roster, while the girls graduated only three.


CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 5


Lake Minneola


Boys record: 11-9


Girls record: 4-9-2


Notes: The boys were the runners-up in Class 4A-District 5 last season and reached the Region 2 quarterfinals. The girls team was winless in district play last year and did not advance out of the district tournament.


CLASS 4A-DISTRICT 10


Eustis


Boys record: 6-11-1


Girls record: 14-5


Notes: The Panthers’ competed in Class 3A-District 6 last year. The boys teams did not make it out of the district tournament. The girls reached the Region 2 quarterfinals last year.


CLASS 4A-DISTRICT 9


Leesburg


Boys record: 6-14


Girls record: 5-12-1


Notes: Both teams competed in Class 3A-District 6 last year, along with local rivals Tavares and Eustis. Neither team advanced to regionals in 2018-19.


Mount Dora


Boys record: 10-4-1


Girls record: 14-4


Notes: The Hurricanes moved up from Class 2A-District 6. The boys team was upset in the district tournament, while the girls advanced into the regional quarterfinals.


Tavares


Boys record: 3-14-1


Girls record: 5-11-1


Notes: Both teams played in Class 3A-District 6 last year. Neither team advanced out the district tournament.


CLASS 4A-DISTRICT 5


South Sumter


Boys record: 13-8-1


Girls record: 6-13


Notes: The Raiders played in Class 2A-District 6 last year. The boys team will have to replace 23 goals scored by Ruben Romero in 2018-19. The girls team’s last winning season was 2014-15 when it posted a 9-7-2 mark.


CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 5


The Villages


Boys record: 9-6-2


Girls record: 9-6


Notes: The Buffalo’s were in Class 2A-District 6 last year. The girls reached the Region 2 quarterfinals in 2018-19 and the boys played for the Region 2 championship, where they lost to Orlando Lake Highland Prep.


Umatilla


Boys record: 2-15-2


Girls record: 12-10-0


Notes: The Bulldogs have moved up from Class 2A-District 6. Neither team advanced to regional play.


CLASS 2A-DISTRICT 6


Real Life Christian


(boys only)


Record: 6-6-1


Notes: This is the Raptors’ second season in an FHSAA district. Real Life outscored its opponents 51-50 last season as a member of Class 1A-District 3.


CLASS 2A-DISTRICT 4


Mount Dora Christian Academy


Boys record: 2-11-2


Girls record: 0-12-1


Notes: The Bulldogs competed in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference last season and will play in FHSAA district this season for the first time.


CLASS 2A-DISTRICT 4


First Academy of Leesburg


(boys only)


Record: 4-7-3


Notes: The Eagles improved in 2018-19, opening the season with a shutout of Ocoee Central Florida Christian Academy and backing that up by blanking CFCA later in the season. First Academy does not have enough players to field a girls team, but could have at least one girl on the boys team.


INDEPENDENTS


Montverde Academy


Boys record: 12-1-1


Girls record: 23-0


Notes: The girls team won its second straight Class 4A state championship last year, but moved back to independent status for the upcoming season, meaning it cannot compete for a state title. The boys team, a longtime FHSAA independent, saw its 216 match unbeaten streak snapped last year when South Lake pulled off a 4-2 upset.


Wildwood


(girls only)


Record: 0-11


Notes: The Wildcats were outscored 80-2 last year in their first season as an FHSAA independent.