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Centex soccer teams find their balance during the summer break

With summer break about halfway over, several Central Texas teams have been hard at work transitioning from the time off school to preseason training. With the first half of practices and the 7-on-7 football season behind them, teams will get back to work after July 4th and prepare for preseason training.

For some teams, however, it is just as important that players and coaches enjoy the break.

“We want our kids to be kids, but at the same time, when they’re in town, to come here and practice with their teammates,” China Spring head coach Tyler Beatty said. “The biggest thing I say to all the coaches and kids is, if you’re in town, we’d love for you to come over, practice, train some kids and get ready for your next season. Whatever it is. If you’re out of town, be a kid, be a dad, enjoy the time because you’re here all the time — you can’t get the time back.”

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Over time, the programs have learned to plan for the summer in advance and have no trouble finding that balance. Most practices are held in the morning to free up most of the day for other things and avoid the hottest part of the infamous Texas summer. But the mentality is slowly shifting back toward football.

“You progress pretty quickly, and unlike the offseason when you’re usually trying to lay a foundation for your next practice, now you’re trying to get ready for the season,” said Waco High School head coach Linden Heldt. “I think the mentality is a little different than it was January through May. Then here in June, July and August, you change your mindset to really get your bearings and get ready for the season. That includes changing the dynamic of what you’re doing on the field, maybe running a little more, knowing the kids are going to have to be in the heat a little more, so getting them acclimated to it.”

Heldt and Beatty noted that participation was high at both the high school and middle school levels. According to Beatty, football participation at China Spring is increasing. The Cougars have over 200 players between 9th and 12th grades preparing for football, as well as more than 100 middle school students.

“For a school the size of China Spring, that’s extraordinary,” Beatty said. “There are some 5A and 6A schools throughout the state, depending on where you are, that don’t have that many participants. That’s what gets me the most excited. That says a lot. It says a lot about the kids’ enjoyment or enthusiasm for football. It shows that they trust the coach. And that’s super gratifying.”

“We haven’t talked about plays yet or how we’re going to score points or how we’re going to stop people, but that will come, but we’re all working together toward the same goal, which is to be the best China Spring team we can be and to allow our leadership – our seniors – to figure out what it means to lead a team. Because a lot of guys don’t know what that means until the previous class graduates.”

WATCH NOW: Meet the 2023 edition of the Super Centex Football Team. Read more about the selections at wacotrib.com/super.