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Young lacrosse players eager for their first games

Michael C. York | BDN
Michael C. York | BDN
Christopher Johnson of Hampden takes a splash on the rain-soaked field to snatch up the ball during Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse practice on Union Street in Bangor, Monday, April 23, 2012.
By Dave Barber, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — More than 20 members of Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse braved Monday’s wind and rain to participate in a practice at Union Street Fields.

The first real lacrosse games most of them will have played takes place Saturday and Sunday, and Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse’s 93 players are looking forward to using skills they’ve been learning for the last few weeks.

“I’m excited,” said 10-year-old Zach Whitehead of Bangor. “It’ll be fun to finally be able to play, but we’re prepared.”

On Saturday, the club’s grade seven/eight (and some ninth) boys teams will host Gardiner at Union Street Field, while the girls team (grades three through six) and the grade five/six boys team will be playing their Augusta and Lewiston counterparts in Augusta.

On Sunday, the grade three/four boys team is scheduled to play at Auburn Middle School. All games are limited to one hour in length.

Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse has held simulated games, but the kids expect the real thing to be different.

“We do [play] scrimmages, and I think those are really fun,” said Colby Brown of Carmel, who plays on the grade three/four team. “I think that a game would be a lot more fun, though.”

The games will give the players a chance to see how much they’ve learned and maybe how much further they have to go.

“I’m excited to see other teams, to see what the differences are and what their strengths and weaknesses are,” said Kai Hart, 14, of Dedham. He is on the grade seven/eight boys team. His sister Ryan, 11, plays on the girls team.

Some of the players have their preferences as to what position they’d like to play, although few if any are set.

“I think I want to be defense,” said Brown. “Just because I think it’s really fun to run around on defense.”

“And push into people,” he added with a smile.

Whitehead, the son of Dena and University of Maine men’s hockey coach Tim Whitehead, prefers offense.

“Probably forward,” he said, “because when you’re on defense, you’re standing around when the ball is on the other end.”

Then he thought for a moment and said, “But I like all positions, really.”

Noah Higgs, 13, of Bangor wants to play in the midfield. He said he still has aspects of his game to work on.

“I’m not that great at passing. I’m really good at catching,” he said.

They understand they’ve learned a lot but have more to go.

“Passing, cradling, the basics, I have those down,” said Hart. “Now it’s more the offensive strategies, tactics, stuff like that [to learn].”

“I want to be more aware of my surroundings,” said Higgs. “It seems like you get [bumped] every five seconds.”

They should settle down as they get more games under their belts.

“He’s a little nervous,” said Christie Brown of Colby, her son. “He’s very much a preparer. He likes to know exactly what his position is.

“And I think it’s still early in the year. After the first game, he’ll feel better.”

Colby’s father, Steve, thought that was to be expected. “He’s still learning.”

“Yeah, he’s still learning,” said Christie Brown. “But he’s excited, very excited.”

Soccer coach license

Registration is under way for people 14 and older interested in getting their U.S. Soccer Federation “E” license.

An “E” license is recommended for anyone planning to coach at the 11-14 age level. SoccerMaine requires coaches of Under-11 and older teams to have passed an “E” license course.

The “E” license also is required for anyone wanting to progress to higher-level licenses.

The 16-hour course, which costs $80, starts May 7 and will continue on subsequent Mondays through June 4, except for May 28, which is Memorial Day. The sessions will be held from 6-10 p.m. at York High School. It’s the only “E” license course now offered in Maine.

Todd Sniper will be the instructor and he can be reached at tsniper@soccermaine.com.

Check the SoccerMaine website for information about coaches and licenses.

Soccer registrations

Several eastern Maine clubs soon will hold spring or fall tryouts. For classification purposes, the Under-9 age group is for boys and girls who are age 8 before Aug. 1; U10 must be age 9 before Aug. 1; and so forth.

Bangor Soccer Club is holding fall travel tryouts May 12 and May 19 at the Doughty School on Fifth Street. Register at bangorsoccerclub.org before May 6.

Brewer Soccer Club will hold registration 6-8 p.m. May 2 at Brewer Community School on Parkway South and fall tryouts on May 6 at Doyle Field starting with U9 and U10 from 11 a.m. to noon, U11 and U12 from noon to 1 p.m., and U13 and U14 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Bronco Travel Soccer Club is holding a registration and information session 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday at the Reed Brook Middle School cafeteria. Tryouts will be held 5:30-6 p.m. Monday at Fields4Kids behind Beal College in Bangor for the U9 and U10 age groups, 6-6:30 p.m. Monday for U11, 7:30-8 p.m. May 3 for U12, and 8-8:30 p.m. May 3 for U13 and U14.

Also, Portland Area Youth Soccer Association Travel Soccer is holding tryouts May 6 at Deering High School on Stevens Avenue in Portland. The U13 and U14 girls session is 8-11 a.m., U10 through U12 girls is 11 a.m.-2 p.m., U10 through U12 boys is 2-5 p.m., and U13 and U14 is 5-8 p.m. Players are asked to show up 30 minutes before their session to check in.

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