Ever since he first started coaching the Chattanooga Red Wolves 2008 Girls, Danny McBride knew he was working with a special group of players who were capable of accomplishing something great. That belief came to fruition this past season when the team reached the finals of the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships, becoming the first Chattanooga Area team to play in a regional championship match.
“I first started coaching this team in the summer of 2021 when I picked them up just for the regional event. We all knew I would be taking them over in the fall because the previous coach was departing,” recalled McBride. “We did not win a single game and went 0-3 at Regionals that summer. I knew we had some really talented players, but I also felt that we had to increase and improve the level of each player throughout the entire roster.”
Over the course of the next year, McBride saw continual development and an increased drive from every player on the team.
“We were significantly improved the following year, and we were very unfortunate to lose in the State Cup Semifinals to Tennessee United in overtime,” he continued. “We felt a little bit hard done by that result, and it definitely created a bit of a chip on our shoulders. Following that season, I knew we were going to be good this year, but I did not know quite how good we were going to be.”
Once this past season got underway, McBride quickly realized that the Red Wolves 2008 Girls were capable of making a deep run, and their successful play eventually led to an elusive State Cup Championship.
“For me personally as a coach, I have been to nine State Cup Finals across three states, and this past year was the first one that I have won. Six or seven of those have been in the State of Tennessee,” shared McBride. “We lost one game in the regular season this past year to TSC (Tennessee Soccer Club), whom we ended up beating in the State Cup Final. We also defeated Germantown in the semifinals of the State Cup before winning against TSC in the finals. We felt that we measured up pretty well to Germantown, who had some success at Regionals last year, so they served as somewhat of a benchmark for us. We knew that winning State Cup was the only way we could earn a berth to the Regionals because we did not play in the Mid-South League or the National League. We had to take the long route to get there, so it was really special to qualify for Regionals by winning State Cup.”
McBride knew early in the season that the Red Wolves 2008 Girls could potentially do something special, but the semifinal win over Germantown Lady Legends confirmed that belief for him.
“In our game against Germantown in the State Cup Semifinals, we were facing a team that had done well at Regionals last year and had won the Mid-South League that they play in. They had beaten virtually everyone they had played in the region,” said McBride. “Ironically enough, in years past, they have beaten the Mississippi team that beat us in the Regional Final this year. But in terms of a turning point, that Germantown game served as what I would call our benchmark moment.”
After defeating Tennessee Soccer Club in the State Cup Final, the Red Wolves 2008 Girls officially booked a trip to the US Youth Soccer Southern Regionals in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Chattanooga side played incredibly from the onset of the competition, first winning their group with a spectacular 12-0 goal differential over three matches. After earning a 2-1 result over Shreveport United 08G Blue (LA) in the quarterfinals, the Red Wolves 2008 Girls rolled to a 5-1 decision against Savannah United 08G Premier (GA) in the semifinals. That punched their ticket to the USYS Southern Regional Final, where they came up just short against Mississippi Rush United 08G Premier.
As he now sets his sights on the upcoming season for the Red Wolves 2008 Girls, McBride was quick to mention an often-forgotten group of individuals who have heavily contributed to the success of the team.
“Our parents are so invested,” confirmed McBride. “Not only are they emotionally and financially invested, but they have completely bought into the culture we are trying to create. That is really exciting for someone in my position.”
With a high level of commitment from players and parents alike, McBride feels the sky is truly the limit for the Red Wolves 2008 Girls during the upcoming season.
“I told the girls after Regionals that it is as simple as this. Our goal next year is to win a National Championship,” he stated. “I am just incredibly proud to coach this group. I tell them after every game how proud of them that I am. I am remarkedly proud to coach them and to lead them. I am truly excited to see what this group does moving forward.”