By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Four years ago, local soccer club Lakes Region United established an “Early Development Program” to teach essential soccer skills to players 6-9 years old. The brainchild of Belmont parent Keith Duggan, the goal was to allow young players to develop skills in a fun, local environment.
The program has been extremely popular with parents and budding soccer stars from throughout the Lakes Region. This spring 16 players participated. They were coached by Northfield resident (and member of Belmont High School’s 1998 state championship team) Dave Nelson, with Steve Jordan providing assistance.
Nelson was enthusiastic about the program, saying “We teach them foot skills, decision-making, passing, cuts, pull-backs, and other basic skills they will be using forever.”
The program involves two practices a week and an organized scrimmage (typically 3 v 3) every weekend. It runs year round (with indoor soccer at Tilton Sports Center in the winter), but players can sign up for one season at a time.
This fall, as Nelson’s son ages out of EDP, the program will be coached by former college standouts Uni Karlsson and Caitlin Dulac. Uni comes from a soccer-loving Icelandic family. He played club soccer in Iceland after helping Gilford High School win a state championship in 1990. His wife, Caitlin, was a standout defensive player at New Hampton School before playing for two years at Smith College.
Karlsson and Dulac were recruited by Duggan to lead EDP. Duggan emphasized the importance of parent coaches for Lakes Region United, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization: “We want parents who know the game to realize LRU is the club for them and that they can and should coach. Current and future teams only exist because of the efforts of coaching volunteers.”
Lakes Region United is in its ninth season with over 120 players from a variety of local towns, including Laconia, Gilford, Belmont, Gilmanton, Meredith, Alton, Moultonborough, Sanborton, Canterbury, Northfield, and New Hampton. Parents and athletes can learn more about the club at lrusoccer.com.
Coaches Dave Nelson and Caitlin Dulac give instructions to EDP players. (Chris Leggett photo)
Coach Dave Nelson gives instructions to an EDP player. (Chris Leggett photo)
- Written by Roger Amsden
- Category: Local Sports
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