On Quimby Field in Center Sandwich a buzz is building around the bustling youth soccer program. Whether it be pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten though grade 2, or one of the two competitive teams at the 3/4 and 5/6 level the numbers have grown as kids and families are enjoying fun and success.
"We've really been working over the past few years to build a welcoming community program on the soccer field." Said Sandwich Parks and Recreation Director, and former Moultonborough Academy boys' soccer coach Leo Greene. "It has been great to see the community at large really enjoying our program which even extends to adult soccer on the weekends and our huge US vs. Mexico game we play with the Sandwich Fair workers every year."
The numbers don't lie as 64 kids are currently playing soccer and the two competitive teams are flourishing with games being played in the Inter-Lakes Youth Soccer League and with Moultonborough, Tamworth and Ossipee.
The 5th and 6th grade team sponsored by Bullard and Company, Inc. has had two excellent results against Meredith teams with a tie and a win as they have really become a team of kids who both love and understand the game. Standouts Eli Misavage, Andrew Tolles, goalkeeper Ella St. Cyr, have all shone with the support of Maya Weil-Cooley, Raven Strother, Phoebe Hoag, Amos Wobber and Will Morse.
"This group has really grown with Georgie Ducsai, Jaime and Jessica Woodaman, and Lucy Morton adding to our group with much improved play. New players this year with Ethan Martin and Fiona Hoag along with the new to Sandwich Helen LaRowe has made this team a real joy to work with. Lots of kids though on the field each practice. It's a great problem to have."
The 3rd and 4th grade program has marked a shift in the gender balance.
Over the past few years the soccer program and Sandwich Central School has had a lot of girls. This is no better on display than the current roster of the Inter-Lakes girls middle school team with 8 girls from Sandwich making up the bulk of the squad.
"This 3rd and 4th grade team is the first mostly boys group I have had here and it's a different dynamic all together. These boys really like to run and they are all eager to play the right way, look for each other, and even understand some of the more subtle moments that come in each game."
Leading the way for the 3rd and 4th grade team sponsored by BEAM Construction are Roley Hoag, Owen Carney, Dugan Brewer-Little, and Eben Misavage. With great all around team play this group has outscored their opponents 14-3 and has fully embraced the game. Cole Ducsai, Hadley Morton, Bobby and Ashley Hatch, and Gage Nydegger have cemented the defense with Max Quinn adding goals and new players Gavyn Carl, Kalan Brunell, Marie LaRowe, Ruby Presisendorfer, Kobie Dostie and Jameson Burrows all contributing as everyone has been playing and growing with tremendous community support.
Leo Greene added, "This has become the biggest program for the department and it is incredible to see the community support. I always do a head count of folks on the sidelines during our games and it is incredible to see aunts and uncles, grand parents, kids' friends, even just residents who spend a few minutes sipping their coffee and watching and supporting their youth teams. It's been special this year and really the result of a community committed to having a positive program".