Cascade High School soccer has built quite the family atmosphere over the past several years.
When former head coach Zack Spears stepped away from the program, it seemed only natural for the administration to turn to Spears' sister, Wendy Williams, to take over the girls program in the upcoming school year.
"I helped him with the boys the last two years and then this year he took another job and wasn't able to, I took over the girls," Williams said.
Williams is a life-long veteran of the sport, having played in both high school at Shelbyville Central and college at Cumberland University.
Following her playing days, Williams spent countless hours with the Cascade program following her daughter's playing days, as well as helping Spears assist the boys program for the past several seasons.
"I played soccer in high school and one year in college. We grew up around the soccer field. My brother was the coach here. Soccer was something we've been around a long time," she said.
The 2021 preseason looks vastly different from what the players experienced a year ago during extensive COVID-19 related protocols.
"I feel like things have gotten a lot back to normal. We've been able to do things they weren't able to do last year. Our practice has been pretty much normal. We've been able to do a lot of physical stuff that may have been a hindrance last year," Williams said.
As things turn back to normal, Williams and her coaching staff has been able to hold typical practices in preparation for the upcoming season.
"They're excited. We have some really good leadership with some good upperclassmen. We have a lot of good talent. I think we're going to have a good varsity and a good JV team," she said.
For now, the focus is working typical day-to-day practices and fitting in play days and preseason scrimmages as they become available.
"We'll be practicing every day. We were supposed to have a play day but a couple of teams dropped out. Hopefully we'll get some preseason games in and see how we match up against them," she said.
In two of the last three seasons, the Lady Champions have reached the Class A state sectional round and she feels her team this season has every bit of the potential to continue the success of the past several seasons.
"I think we have a solid chance. They are going to have to come together as a team and take all of our strengths and use them to our advantage. They have the potential to do just as well as the teams before them," she said.
For now, the excitement of transitioning to a head coach is a nice change of pace for Williams as she continues season preparations for the 2021 kickoff.
"It's very exciting. My daughter went through this program. Watching my brother do it for several years and being part of it this whole time, it's just exciting to be on this side of the field and work with the girls every day," she said.