Arnold boys soccer team attributes some of its success to team yoga

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - The Arnold boys soccer team is in the midst of a rather successful two-year run.

"We're getting one game farther than last season,' Jonathan Hammond, Arnold boys soccer coach said. "And this is the furthest any Bay County team has ever gone."

What the coach means by that is no Bay County boys team has ever won a region final. They hope to win that region final Wednesday night as the Marlins host Ridgeview.

All that leads to the question what is one of the keys to their success?

"We usually do yoga after a big game," Hammond answers. "We started it last year. The boys love it. They were actually kind of skeptical at first."

"I was confused," Taylor Bradley, Arnold junior said. "Very confused. I didn't know what we were doing, wasn't very flexible, couldn't do a lot of it."

"It was surprising," Bryson Weilbacher-Matos, Arnold sophomore said. "I actually really liked it. It was amazing."

Mixing in a little sand with soccer turned these players from doubters to believers.

"It was definitely something different," Dylan Gandy, Arnold senior said. "Going into it I was like there's no way this is actually going to benefit us."

Taking their stress from the games to the sand has helped these Marlins physically.

"After the first couple of times playing in the games you could really tell it actually started helping our bodies heal faster after the games," Gandy said.

"I'm a goal keeper," Javoughn Morris, Arnold junior said. "Most games I've played, I've had problems after diving and stuff. And after we tried yoga, it really helped me recover from all that."

"Makes them more flexible to where they can reach farther," Hammond said. "In soccer, there's a lot of turning, and twisting, and using a lot of muscles that you normally don't use every day."

Hammond also says it's helped these players mentally.

"It just kind of relaxes our bodies," Bradley said. "It just lets us become a team, and just kind of hang out together and just sort of grow."
"Definitely coming down here to the beach, and doing it just definitely relaxes you and calms your nerves down before a big game," Gandy said.

But according to one sophomore, the best part of doing team yoga, "It helps us win state," Weilbacher-Matos proclaims.

Arnold hosts Ridgeview, a team from central Florida, Wednesday night at Gavlak at 7.

Niceville hosts Chiles at Twin Oaks, also at 7.