The Start of Our Journey

Enjoy this pictorial journey through the establishing of 'The Academy' following the trip to Europe and eventually setting down roots at The Oakes Training Center.

At first, we begged, borrowed, paid, and stole field space wherever we could get it. Motivated by a vision of doing 'something better' Southern States Soccer set out to provide quality, integrity, and honesty.

Unable to use Tatum Park in Hattiesburg, the journey started on borrowed fields around Oak Grove to college fields like Samford and UAB in Birmingham. Eventually, it led us to and to what was to become 'The Oakes'.

Southern States Soccer has never shied away from a road trip! In the early days, we even flew to Europe! Landing first in Barcelona, Spain our mixed team of 2001-02-03 born players were soon in action against local teams.

The trip included visiting the famous Barcelona training ground to watch Lionel Messi and his team go through their paces and finally the visit to the world-famous Nou Camp Stadium. The hosts put on a 6-0 show with Messi even managing to miss a PK. A rare sight indeed.

From there it was on to see our great friend Inaki Erana at Sporting Gijon and more games, one against the La Liga club's own academy. Then another fantastic experience as we watched Sporting down Atletico Madrid by 2-1 inside their own packed and boiling cauldron of a stadium.

Our third base was in Den Helder, Holland. This also included a trip across the English Channel aboard the ferry to play a Southampton FC academy team to a 2-2 tie. We of course met up with our old friend Terry Moore.

Then it was back to Holland to finish out the tour with three more games and a flight home from Amsterdam.

Enjoy the images below they are just a few of the many memories and some of the many fields we borrowed when we returned back home.