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Local soccer club gears up for next season

Lakes Region United B and C teams pose for a picture during their party at the GYC last Monday night. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
February 17, 2010
Within a couple years the local youth soccer club, Lakes Region United, has grown from one to three teams, with an initial thanks to a group of dads who had a passion for the sport.

Now parents from all over the community, from Gilford to Belmont to Meredith, can watch their children enjoy soccer and excel at the sport. LRU is considered to be a "traveling team," and offers a competitive, yet fun environment.

Conrad Hanf, Scott Workman, and Christian Zimmermann have had the pleasure of watching their children enjoy the sport first hand, since they all collaborated in the process of creating the program and share coaching responsibilities.

Hanf and a few other coaches are Gilford parents who got involved in the process of creating a local soccer club early on and have discussed and brought their "soccer philosophy" to life since 2008. They said it just made sense to join forces and start this program since they were all soccer players, their kids are the same age, and they live in the same towns.

"We got things going and got involved with our kid's sports early on. I came from Massachusetts, and there is a different program there," said Hanf. "It is really just a youth program, made up of our own club teams. We have been able to bring in rivalries and developed great friendships."

Hanf said many parents from throughout the Lakes Region have also made the program possible by volunteering, coaching, and refereeing. He said that during summer events and parties, the players' siblings get involved as well.

Hanf explained that LRU will now have a girl's team for next season, a new U-10 team, and his current team, which will move up to the next division come spring. There have been local soccer programs in the past, yet Hanf said LRU is bringing the love and competitiveness for the sport "back to life." He said his team has a lot of skilled players, and that the program is becoming more popular, to the point where the program is seeking out more playing fields and more coaches.

Ten-year-old LRU players from all over the region got to celebrate their team's undefeated fall and indoor soccer seasons this year. Although LRU usually holds their games at the indoor facility in Bow, NH, they decided to celebrate their great season at the Gilford Youth Center last Monday night. The players, now moving up to the U-11 division, were treated to a pizza party, a few games of basketball, an obstacle course, and of course some indoor soccer.

Hanf said this celebration is worthwhile since he has watched his team improve, and watched each individual player grow over the last few years.

"Everyone is involved," said Hanf. "We are very lucky. We don't take all these families for granted."

LRU player Ethan Warrann said he has a lot of fun on his team, and loves the sport of soccer. Since Warrann lives in Gilmanton, he said he has been able to branch out and make friends from other towns. He added that his kicking has improved, and that his shining moment would have to be when he shot and scored a goal from the other side of the playing field during a game.

Fellow player Tyler Hanf said he enjoys playing soccer with his team because many of his friends are involved, which has served as a bonding experience for the team. Hanf said his defensive skills have improved throughout last season. The team's communication and passing skills have also increased and improved, said Hanf.

Martin Lord & Osman
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