Milford soccer teams finding success
MILFORD – It seems like there is one championship team after another on the soccer fields in Milford.
The latest champions are the Milford FC U14 boys soccer team, which capped off a perfect 10-0 record in the inaugural season of the New Hampshire Soccer League with a 2-1 victory against the Pemi-Baker Soccer Club from Plymouth in the NHSL playoffs on November 10.
The team’s counterparts, the U14 girls team, also advanced to the playoff round but lost to the Merrimack Youth Soccer Club after a successful season. This team of girls won the U12 title the previous spring and all but two players were also members of the victorious Milford Middle School team that won its division a few weeks back.
Milford FC is part of the Milford Community Athletic Association, featuring both travel and recreational soccer opportunities for kids from U6 through U18 in Milford and surrounding towns. The U14 teams drew players from Milford, Mont Vernon, Wilton, Lyndeborough and Mason.
“The boys have showed tremendous growth this year, both in their technical skills and tactical awareness of the game,” coach Kevin Tronkowski said. “The championship game was a perfect example of that. We were able to withstand some early pressure from a good Pemi-Baker team and capitalize against the run of play right before halftime. In the second half, we really found our game, scored the go-ahead goal and then successfully saw the game out. It was a great effort that showed just how far our boys have progressed.”
“Our coaches really inspired us to work hard and never give up,” captain Joey Carrier said. “We had a cohesive group of players that were friends both on and off the field. Through hard work and dedication, we formed a winning team.”
“The goal of the season was to win as a team,” added captain Matt Chase. “With help from our Milford FC coaches, we achieved that goal by winning the NHSL U14 Division III State Championship.”
Keeping a seasoned group of talented players together is the key to success. The majority of the team also played together in the spring in Granite State Soccer League, compiling a record of 6-1.
Drive by North River Road fields on weekends or most evening, and the fields are packed with soccer players of all ages, and other nights it’s ball players. This spring was the MCAA’s fifth year with spring travel teams, starting with one team in 2008, and growing to 10 teams for U10 to U16. This fall was the first season for fall travel teams with six teams competing. And there are rec teams of all ages kicking the soccer ball around and working on their skills or engaging in an energetic game.
“The soccer program in Milford has grown over the years from around 300 kids ranging from U6-U14 playing fall recreation soccer only, to well over 500 kids ranging from U6-U19 playing year round in both recreational leagues and competitive NH Soccer leagues,” said Adam Grill, the U14 girls coach. “The purpose of Milford soccer is to provide quality soccer training and player development to not only Milford residence, but residence of surrounding towns. By playing competitively, our hope is to help our players succeed beyond our club teams.”
Besides MCAA, the Hampshire Dome at Hampshire Hills also offers winter programs for soccer, which many of these players also participate in, so some have the opportunity to kick the ball year-round.