The varsity boys' soccer team at once again exceeded many people’s expectations this season. They came within one game of winning their region and even upset Centennial in the playoffs before a hard-fought loss to eventual state finalist Collins Hill sent them home. It was a season of continued success and growth for Dacula's mens' soccer program.
The man behind the success of Dacula’s soccer program is head coach Mike Burrell. Coach Burrell is married to Jaclyn Burrell, a former teacher in the Gwinnett County school system who now serves in the administrative office of Norcross High School. It was Coach Burrell's relationship and eventual marriage to Jaclyn that led him to Dacula.
“I started teaching in Griffin while Jaclyn, my girlfriend at that time, was teaching at Norcross High School,” said Burrell. “Our plans to be married meant I moved up to Gwinnett County. I started teaching at South Gwinnett and then moved to Dacula when my wife was teaching there. We taught and coached together for one year before she went into administration and back to Norcross High School.”
He and Jaclyn have now been married for eight years and have children ages 4 and 6 months.
“I love spending time with my family on the lake,” he said. “I also enjoy running and playing soccer.”
Coach Burrell grew up outside of Augusta in Evans, Ga. He attended Evans High School and went to Georgia Southern University. At Georgia Southern, he played soccer (goalkeeper) and majored in Biology.
Coach Burrell loves his wife and family, but says he has also fallen in love with this community, the school and his student athletes.
“I love the teachers and faculty I work with. They are great and easy to get along with,” said Burrell. “I love that our program is able to compete against the largest schools with a small student population and that they come out each year and play their hearts out.”
“In regard to our town, I love being close enough to the big city without quite the traffic,” he said.
Coach Burrell also has high hopes for next season’s soccer team.
“We are returning a large group of seniors who have worked very hard for the program for the last three years,” he said. “We are looking forward to competing for a region title and maintaining the tradition of making the state playoffs the past five years."
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