FPC will now battle against teams from Jacksonville during the 2019-20 season.
For the past several years, the girls soccer district championship has almost always come down to a showdown between local powerhouses Flagler Palm Coast, Spruce Creek and University.
That’s all changed now.
The Bulldogs — who opened the 2019-20 season with a 3-0 victory over Seabreeze the night of Tuesday, Nov. 12, at FPC High School — are now in a new district. They’ll compete against teams from Jacksonville this season, including Bartram Trail, Nease, Oakleaf, Mandarin and Sandalwood.
Pete Hald, who is entering his 29th season as the head coach of the Bulldogs, expects this year to be a difficult one thanks to the new district and a tougher schedule.
“We’re going to have a tough time,” he said. “I just want to give us a chance to move on in the playoffs.”
In addition, a tradition at the end of each season for the Bulldogs is to graduate a plethora of senior talent. That was no different last year, as the Bulldogs graduated Emily Puentes, Brielle Landry and Jaryn Paley, among others.
In total, the Bulldogs have graduated 16 players over the past two seasons.
“We’re not really replacing anyone,” junior team captain Taylor Murphy said. “We’re just adding talent to where we need it.”
Hald expects his team to be able to defend well. The main question?
“Can we score goals?” he said. “Last year, we couldn’t finish. We’ve got to score goals.”
The Bulldogs have made the district final each of the last 17 seasons. To get there again, they’re going to have to rely on their team chemistry.
“It’s all about working together,” junior forward Ashley Buglione said. “We all have the same goal: to win and be successful on the field. So I think that’s going to push us.”