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First Club Development Day of the year, sponsored by Petro!

The Long Island Junior Soccer League kicked off its first Petro Home Services Club Development Day during the afternoon on Saturday, April 21. Boys and girls between the ages of seven and eight got the chance to come out to the Peter C. Collins Soccer Park in Plainview for a great day of soccer.   

“This is the perfect environment,” said Anthony Sabatino, President of Kings Park Soccer Club. “The parents are having fun, the kids are having fun, and there’s no winner or loser.”

On the day, 32 teams took part in the event from 13 different clubs, ranging from Queens United all the way much further east to East Hampton.

The idea of getting out and having fun was something that was stressed throughout the event by different coaches as well as LIJSL Technical Director Ronan Wiseman.

“We want these kids to fall in love with the game to go back and train with their clubs, play games with their clubs, and continue to play the game for as long as possible. That’s what we want to foster at this age,” he said.

Massapequa Director of Coaching Paul Bigilin added, “I think it’s fun for them to get on the field and experience competition without worrying about winning.”

Adding to the excitement for the players was getting a chance to take the field against different teams that they wouldn’t normally get a chance to play against in their age group.

“When you play intramurals, you’re sort of playing in-house, so it’s guys they see in training or at school,” said David Stapleton, Plainedge Soccer Club Developmental Director of Coaching. “It feels a bit different and they get more excited when they play against players with different color shirts and different towns.”

While fun was a key point during the afternoon, where teams got a chance to play up to three games, learning was also at the forefront. Getting a chance to play games allows the players to make mistakes and learn from them in a no-pressure environment.

“The more soccer they can play at this age, the better,” said Shaun Foster, one of the coaches on hand from Massapequa. “This is great and it certainly helps their development.”

Chris Baranaskas, who is the age group administrator for the developmental sides at Northport Cow Harbor United, noted “the more playing time they get, the faster they grow.”

One attribute most coaches were working on was getting the players more familiarity on the ball as well as being able to move the ball with players in the right shape on the field.

“We want them to be really comfortable on the ball,” said Tim Nolan, Wantagh-Seaford PAL Director of Coaching. “We do a lot of ball work, as I’m sure a lot of the other clubs do as well, because one of the essential things is that players are comfortable on the ball.”

He also added: “We also need them to be have more spatial awareness. A lot of times growing up, it’s bunch up, bunch up, so as we go on the field we try to remind them to spread out, look for each other, and be comfortable on the ball. They are going to make mistakes and we want them to learn from their mistakes.”

Overall, it’s the atmosphere and environment created that continues to have coaches bring out their teams to the development days.

“They are really well run and really well structured, and it’s easy to get them on the field and playing and watch to see if they are doing what they’ve learned in practice,” said Sean Peckett, Queens United President and Director of Coaching. “The game is the best teacher.”

The next Club Development Day will be held on Sunday, May 20 at the Soccer Park. Contact LIJSL Technical Director Ronan Wiseman (ronanw@lijsoccer.com) or LIJSL Director of Member Services Steve Padaetz (stevep@lijsoccer.com) for more information.

Click here to view photos from this weekend, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0qwapmsb11wcn31/AACgqKp5JpNgMPXsAVq0YdGEa?dl=0

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