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On Sept. 10 we held our annual Opening Day Clinic for the participants of the East Longmeadow Youth Soccer Association’s in-town leagues. This is an event we plan each year to kick off the soccer season for over 300 children in our town. This was my second season organizing this event. I can say the time it takes to pull all the parties together can be trying but the end result is very gratifying. One consistent positive from this event I have seen and one I feel strongly about, is the enthusiastic participation from the Boys and Girls Varsity and JV soccer teams. Most high school kids are catching up on their sleep at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, that Saturday the girls soccer team was waiting for the arrival of our kindergarten group of children then. Meanwhile, the boys team was out on a can and bottle drive to raise money. All were bleary eyed, but as soon as the children arrived the energy and enthusiasm of the high school girls provided to the children, many whom have never touched a soccer ball prior to that day, was palpable. This was evidenced by the smiling faces of all the children at the end of their session and the many thanks I received from the parents on the sidelines. The thanks belongs to the high school players. After a half hour rest the high schoolers were inundated with a second wave of 1st through 5th grade girls who received the same enthusiasm and energy as the kindergarten children. At 1 p.m. the boys teams arrived to spell the girls and in a seamless transition the boys team hosted a group of 1st through 5th grade boys teams for and hour and one half filled with equal energy and enthusiasm as the girls provided for the morning sessions. I personally want to thank each player that participated in the event. I mentioned to you when we were together that each of the kids who participated look to you as a soccer star they someday want to become. Your dedication and enthusiasm is what makes this event so successful. Your parents and the community should be proud of the student athletes and young adults you have become. While getting up early on the weekend is never fun I hope you realize the positive impact you had on all the children and parents who attended. In an effort to grow the soccer program having you participate brings the faces and the names we read about in the paper to life. You are stars in the eyes of these kids who someday want to be just like you. We thank you. I want to thank all of the parents who volunteered their time to coach this year. Getting enough volunteers to coach these teams is a perennial challenge I face each year. Without the support of these parents our association would fail. Please consider coaching your children in the future. I want to thank Ned “Obie” Obernesser, 30-plus year veteran supporter of East Longmeadow Youth Sports, for is dedication and unwavering support of our programs. He as been an invaluable asset to all of us. I also want to thank Tony Giuggio owner of the Pizza Shop for providing lunch for all of our volunteers. Tony has been a consistent behind the scene supporter of East Longmeadow Sports for years. Finally, I beg each parent and resident to support our athletes. Please attend a game and cheer on these great kids. They deserve your attention and support. Not to mention we have two very good teams this year. John Arnold ELYSA In-Town Coordinator Bookmark and Share
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