The high school soccer season ended a month ago, but the sport is just heating up in Columbia County.
The Augusta FireBall, a Premier Development League men's soccer team, started the 2006 season May 19 with its opener at Patriots Park. The team will have six more home games during the next two months.
"It was good to get back in Augusta this summer and play for the crowd," FireBall midfielder Ryan Roushandel said. "The atmosphere at Patriots Park is unbelievable. It's some of the best soccer you'd want to see."
Most of the FireBall roster is made up of college players. Roushandel, who has played at Clemson University the past two years, said the competition that can be seen this year at Patriots Park rivals the best college has to offer.
"The PDL is ex-professional or the best college players in the country," he said. "The technical and tactical parts of the game are way beyond high school."
The FireBall players have more to play for this season. After competing in Augusta during the team's inaugural year last season, the FireBall are no longer under "provisional" status and are eligible for postseason play.
The team is already off to a strong start with two wins and a tie in its first three games. The FireBall tied the Cocoa Expos, 2-2, in Augusta's home opener. The home team responded two days later with a win over the Ajax Orlando Prospects.
The FireBall improved to 2-0-1 on the season with a win in their first road game of the season at the Raleigh Elite.
The Fireball will next play at Patriots Park at 7 p.m. Saturday against Palm Beach.
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