North team earns win in MAC All-Star soccer game

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2010

RAYMOND — There were never days like this in Sweden for Jacob Pettersen.

The Warren Central exchange student capped his Amercian experience in Saturday’s Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star soccer game. It will be remembered as a hot affair as temperatures soared near 100 degrees with plenty of Mississippi humidity mixed in at the Hinds Community College soccer field.

“No doubt, this is the hottest weather I’ve played soccer or anything in,” Pettersen said after his North team, coached by WC coach Greg Head, won 1-0 over the South. “I thought about nice, cool Sweden during yesterday at practice. It had been two months since I had kicked a ball. It was still pretty fun to be here and it was worth it to postpone my trip home by two weeks to play in this, though,” Pettersen said.

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Even Mississippi and Vicksburg natives Perry Tolliver of Vicksburg High and Austin Hopkins of WC had no fun with the heat.

“It was too hot and I was too out of shape,” Hopkins said. “I just tried to play through it.”

‘I liked the experience of being here, even though I did shank a couple shots on goal,” added Tolliver, who will continue playing this fall as a freshman at Gulf Coast Community College.

Head was just thankful his troops held on to post the victory and avoid wilting in the late-game heat.

“I’ve seen some extreme weather this year for soccer,” Head said. “We’ve played in the snow. We won the division championship against Clinton in freezing rain and, here today, we have to play in 100-degree weather. This was the hottest condtions I’ve ever had a team play in.

“I just had to keep an eye on them. We had only 14 players. Two of the 14 were keepers and I had to use one in the field to spread out the rest. But I have to say, the kids did a great job of hanging in there.”

Pettersen, who started at midfield, was subbed out at least twice in the first half. He came on strong in the second half and helped the North get the game’s only goal.

“The heat kind of wore out Jacob. You know, he never came out in a game at Warren Central, but today we were subbing out anyone who needed it,” Head said.

Madison Central’s B.J. Williams was one of the North’s most skilled players. The University of Memphis signee made some nice moves in the corner and then sent a cross kick toward goal that was headed in by Tupelo’s Patrick McPherson in the 43rd minute.

Pettersen had two open looks at goal, but couldn’t get anything on them and both were easily stopped. The North also had a corner kick go off the high post and another wide open shot get popped up.

The South’s best chance to tie it came with nine minues left, but the shot hit off the top post wide.

“We hit some shots high today. I guess I thought I was playing American football even though in Sweden we call this futbol,” Pettersen said.

Unlike his North teammates, Pettersen will not be going to college when he gets back to Sweden.

“I go back to high school. I still have two years left. We have to go 13 years of high school and this year in the States doesn’t count,” he said.