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Lakeland Summer League hits year 17

Posted by Tim Hourahan at Jun 28, 2024 5:29AM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Lakeland Summer Soccer League a Fragment of Fútbol Thunder
June 25, 2024
Ray Gallagher
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By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays

Somers senior Daniel Nikac rips shot against Valhalla in Tuskers’ 1-0 win on opening night in Lakeland Summer Soccer League action last week.
The growth of soccer in North America is flipping crazy. The emergence has been a long time in the making, and the increase in immigration, legal or otherwise, is sure to add to it in the days ahead. More teenagers than ever before are playing soccer in U.S. high school soccer programs, which have seen record participation, with scores of boys and girls playing the sport nationwide.

A recent report commissioned and released by Telemundo Deportes has showcased soccer as the fastest-growing team sport in America. Entitled ‘The Future is Fútbol’, the report also revealed insights into the fanbase and the sport of soccer in the USA.

Locally, the boon is upon us. The 17th annual Lakeland Summer Soccer League is at an all-time high, with a record 18 teams participating, coming from as far south as Ardsley and Eastchester, as far east as Rye and Harrison and as far north as Roy C. Ketcham (Wappingers) and John Jay East Fishkill. That’s a ton of miles to play in a summer soccer league that amounts to much more than bragging rights also while providing a glimpse of what we can expect in the fall of 2024. It’s also an indication of the dedication our student athletes are willing to provide to grow the game.

The league started back in 2007 on a wing and a prayer with just Lakeland, Mahopac, Put Valley and Hen Hud competing, so the growth has been impressive.

“I was told this would never work, that kids and coaches won’t show up regularly, but our summer league is as good as it gets to prepare teams for the upcoming fall season,” Lakeland Summer League Director Tim Hourahan said. “The Coaches are great, organized and professional about it. They are into it and most teams are practicing on off days to prepare for summer league games. The level of competitiveness in this league is off the charts, I love it!”

Alex Napoli, a junior from White Plains, heads the ball in Tigers’ 2-1 loss to Byram Hills in Lakeland Summer Soccer League action last week.
Soccer is crushing it nationally, and Section 1 programs are reaping the benefits, including former doormats like Carmel, which is off to a 2-0 start in summer league action. Just five years ago, nobody in Section 1 feared Carmel. If Section 1 coaches could get the Rams for their homecoming games, they jumped at the chance. Carmel Coach Vasiliy Shevelchinsky has changed the culture, and the Rams are now part of the boom, joining the likes of Lakeland’s Tim Hourahan, Somers’ Brian Lanzetta, Byram Hills’ Matty Allen, who guided his Bobcats to a Section 1 title and state runner-up status in the fall of 2023, and many, many others.

Allen’s Bobcats should be in the thick of the summer league title chase, but admits it’s tough to predict.

“Summer league is an absolute crapshoot, ya never know who shows,” he said. “Eastchester is my favorite because they are defending Class AA champs, and they are large. Somers is another favorite as well, having won three out of five in the summer. I think (Byram) can challenge this summer, but I lose a lot of guys in July for vacation. Rye and Yorktown are right there as well, as is Lakeland.”

The summer league is a gauge Section 1 coaches use to determine a ton of different elements regarding their own programs and the competition.

“I love being around it, sitting and talking with all the players and coaches in the league each night, great to watch these guys come out and compete. It’s what it’s all about,” Hourahan said. “Teams are looking to mix in players from their JV teams from a year ago and get them up to speed, or will be trying to develop their returning players into leaders.”

Arthur Barrozo, a Valhalla junior, tries a bicycle kick in 1-0 loss to Somers on opening night of Lakeland Summer Soccer League action last week.
There’s a lot going on internally and Hourahan suspects that 18 teams have formed a competitive balance that benefits all.

“The league is filled with some of the top teams in Section 1,” he said. “Byram Hills went to the Class A state title game last year and may have a better roster in 2024, they return a ton. Eastchester also returns a ton and were co-champs in Class AA last year and deserved to beat Scarsdale in the finals, who went on to win a state title last year. Carmel, won my indoor winter league playing 7 vs. 7 against many teams in this league. They will be a real dark horse in Class AA as Somers, Eastchester and Scarsdale are now all in new classes. Somers has a great senior class, a bunch of 2007’s that play high level club, and if they can find one steady goal scorer they will be right there.”

Watch for Somers’ summer scores to see if they can develop some consistent threats to go along with what might be the best defender in Section 1 in four-year Tusker veteran and senior Noah Hechler.

Briarcliff returns the Rhode brothers and will be in the top three teams in class B this year with Keio and Bronxille.

Kody Booth of Mahopac dribbles as junior Owen Becker of Lakeland defends in a 1-1 tie between local rivals in Lakeland Summer Soccer League action last Monday.
“They are playing all heavyweights all summer in my league from Class A, AA and AAA so they will be prepared,” Hourahan said. “One thing is for sure, this league will get coaches and players ready for the fall. We have brand new coaches in Yorktown, Briarcliiff and RCK that this league is invaluable for.”

A beneficial boon is upon us, so prepare accordingly.


Action Photos from the first 2 nights in the 17th Annual Lakeland Summer League.

photos are taken by David Taber of the Examiner News and @ShotsOfTheGame

Summer League Games: week of June 16


Five 2024 graduates make there college soccer commitment

⚽️ Anthony Abbondanza- SUNY Geneseo
⚽️ Silvio Ahmataj- Manhattanville
⚽️ Connor Daly- RPI
⚽️ Arjun Parambath- Elmira
⚽️ Anthony Villa- SUNY Brockport

9th Annual Section 1 v Section 9 Challenge

Posted by Tim Hourahan at Oct 1, 2023 6:20PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

9th Annual Section I vs Section IX Day in Soccer @ Lakeland

Monday October 9, 2023
9.00 Mamaroneck v Monroe Woodbury
11.00 Bronxville v Spackenkill
1.00 Byram Hills v Cornwall
3.00 Scarsdale v Goshen
5.00 JJEF v NFA
7.00 Lakeland v Beacon