North Country Soccer League draws large numbers

Could the next Mia Hamm come from the North Country? Young kickers work hard during their Tuesday night game in Berlin. Tara Giles. (click for larger version)
July 27, 2015
BERLIN — Every Tuesday evening at Memorial Field in Berlin, you will see a slew of young athletes from the ages of four through 13 working on improving their soccer skills.

The North Country Soccer League began over a decade ago. Currently there are about 200 kids involved with the program. This includes three divisions from Berlin, Gorham and Milan.

The Mites division consists of children entering kindergarten through second grade. Each of the four teams has 12-18 kickers on it.

The junior division has children entering grades three through five, with four teams of about 12-18 players.

This summer the senior division expanded to four teams with students entering sixth through eighth grade.

Berlin High School's athletic director and organizer for the club, Craig Melanson said, "I wanted to make the league "user friendly" for all involved including parents. We start the games at 5 p.m. with the Mites league so parents can get there to watch their children play." Melanson explained that all games are one hour with two taking place at the same time.

All the coaches schedule all of their practices through the Berlin Recreation and Parks Department. "The coaches are all volunteers. If it weren't for these dedicated individuals this league would not fly. I also can't thank the dedicated staff of the recreation crew who maintain the fields each week."

Melanson also includes some of his high school athletes to help out with coaching and officiating. "Most of the kids have played in the league at one point. It's a great thing when you can get this many children playing and learning the game of soccer, it is a great feeder program for the junior high school and high school programs for both communities," Melanson said.

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