Sports column: Warren County’s soccer scene might be headed for a golden age

Published 10:55 am Sunday, February 18, 2024

A couple of generations ago, Vicksburg was ahead of the curve when it came to soccer.

The city was an early adopter of the sport in Mississippi and the results showed it. The Vicksburg Soccer Organization was one of the top youth programs in the state. Warren Central’s boys’ team went to four MHSAA state championship games in five years from 1989-93. Vicksburg High’s girls’ team won five state titles between 1996 and 2002.

Individual players like Gates Weaver, Jay Harrison, Kristin Chapman and Brandi Parker set records and excelled at the next level and cemented Vicksburg’s status as a soccer town.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The dominance eventually waned. Towns like Clinton, Brandon and Madison got their youth club programs up and running while the VSO took a step backward, and the suburban Jackson Metro high schools surged past the two from Warren County.

Warren County’s teams were still competitive, and ocassionally excellent. St. Aloysius’ boys and girls teams won two MAIS championships in the 2010s, while Vicksburg’s boys had a few deep playoff runs in the late 2000s. Warren Central’s teams were playoff regulars.

By and large, however, a glass ceiling formed. Warren County’s teams were on the bottom side, desperately trying and typically failing to punch through against the Jackson Metro schools.
This season, Warren Central finally shattered it.

The Vikings and Lady Vikes both reached the MHSAA Class 6A semifinals after a couple decades of playoff frustration. On their own it was an excellent season, but together it was something more. It felt like the possible awakening of a sleeping giant.

MHSAA reclassification placed Warren Central in a position where it can be a big fish in a medium-sized pond, rather than a small fish in an ocean full of sharks.

The two WC teams combined only have five seniors and nearly as many eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders contributing as juniors and seniors. As they grow and mature they’ll only get better.

Longtime Vikings coach Greg Head didn’t parse his words when talking about the potential for the future.

“We could be a dynasty,” Head said.

Hopefully, in a few years, we’ll look back at Head’s words as prophetic while counting multiple state championship trophies. In the here and now, it’s hard not to argue that we could be on the cusp of high school soccer’s next golden age in Warren County.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest