Harrison boys and girls soccer coach Jonathan Gross said he will never forget how the 2020 season went unfinished. The expectations, and excitement he and his players felt will never become tangible.
“On a personal note, I’m bitter,” Gross said. “It’s not a season ending in failure. It never went from potential to reality.”
Gross reminisced about the last practice he spent with his 2020 seniors, emphasizing the potential both of the teams had.
“We were at practice when it all became official. As the day wore on, we were told our game on Friday was canceled,” Gross said. “I initially wanted to help the players cope with so much doubt.”
The season was put on a two-week hiatus, with Gross never believing it was going to last just two weeks.
“There was this optimistic view,” he said. “I was hopeful for a shortened region schedule.”
When the decision came to end the season entirely, Gross was frustrated, but not surprised.
“I, like most people, understood it needed to be done, but it was challenging,” he said.
Gross said that part of what made the decision to fully cancel the season so hard was that he truly believed both of his teams could make a run for the state title. The boys team had only lost one game during the shortened season, and were on track to overtake the region.
“The (ability to make the) playoffs had come down to the last day the last two seasons,” Gross said. “We had already beaten Dalton this year — a force in (Class) 6A.”
On the girls side, the team was returning from a loss in the state championship in 2019, and Gross was expecting them to get over that last hurdle in 2020.
“The thing is (the seniors) can always be proud,” Gross said. “Because some of their last chances on the field was our game at Parkview, and they played the best-looking soccer I’ve seen from them.”
Gross said he will always remember the atmosphere the senior class created for the next generation of Harrison soccer players, and the thought of the lost season will stay with him mentally, but so will the bonds they have created.
“You don’t need a whole season to care about this group of players,” Gross said.