DALLAS — It was a match that senior boys soccer player Michael Davison yearned for — not just for himself — but for the program.
The Dragons earned a 6-1 victory over Lebanon on Oct. 3. It was the team’s first league win in six years — before any of Dallas’ soccer players arrived at the high school.
Davison scored a hat trick, with all three goals coming in the second half, to lead the Dragons to the victory.
At long last, the victory was a sign that brighter days are ahead for Dallas’ soccer program.
“I told coach this was something I’ve been looking for my senior year,” Davison said. “I needed this game.”
Davison always found something unique about soccer.
“It’s a beautiful game,” he said. “You watch the World Cup and you see all the nations playing and all the fans around the world, it’s inspiring to see their love for the game.”
Soccer was also a sport Davison excelled at.
He played on multiple club teams, winning state titles in 2011 and 2013.
Eventually, the mix of school, church and other responsibilities meant he had to stop playing club soccer after his freshman year.
He still had the high school squad — but it was a far cry from the level of competition he was used to.
“In club, you play with guys who are elite,” Davison said. “You come to Dallas, a small 5A school trying to wrap things together. It was a huge transition.”
He was used to a team playing as one unit against high level competition.
His freshman year, that’s not what he saw in Dallas. He saw a fragmented team that rarely bonded off the field and didn’t play together on it.
“When I came in as a freshman, it was just a lot of individual play,” Davison said.
That has slowly changed.
“We’ve grown with one another,” he said. “We joke around in school. We have fun in practices. I think it's great we have some freshmen who are playing really well, because they are the future of this program.”
Davison has done all he could to help his teammates learn and grow.
“Michael is a natural leader,” coach John Jones said. “Athletically, it’s incredible some of the things he can pull off on the field. He can score, and he can pass. He gives us a lot of options on the attack.”
Even when it didn’t show on the scoreboard, Davison saw the improvement – a crisp pass here or a scoring chance there.
Against Lebanon, things came together in a big way, with multiple players scoring goals against the Warriors.
“I was able to score because of some beautiful assists from my teammates,” Davison said. “It was our first league win in six years. That meant everything to me.”
The Dragons followed that match with a 4-1 loss to Crescent Valley on Thursday. Dallas trailed 2-1 at the half before the Raiders pulled away in the second half.
In past years, that loss would have been much worse. In 2016, the Dragons lost to the Raiders 7-1.
Now, Jones’ attention is turning players attitudes on their heads from expecting to lose to believing they can win.
“We had a decent performance and played well,” Jones said. “We have to learn not to be satisfied with that. This team can be better. We have to figure out and decide that we can compete with the top teams. It’s hard because there’s still that little doubt in the back of their minds.”
Building the soccer program, will take time, but it’s getting there.
“We played a beautiful game,” Davison said.