Lakeland Summer Leagues Serving Vital Purpose for Area Youth

Posted by Tim Hourahan on Jul 26 2021 at 05:30PM PDT

Lakeland Summer Leagues Serving Vital Purpose for Area Youth

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays

Folks in our neck of the woods have no idea how fortunate they are to have people like Lakeland educators/coaches Sharon Sarsen and Tim Hourahan providing a summer outlet for field hockey preps and boys’ soccer players, respectively. Seriously, you have no idea. Every single summer Sarsen — the most decorated field hockey coach in state history (probably the country) — and Hourahan — among the most dedicated soccer coaches in NYS — provide Section 1 athletes with the chance to play competitive, well-organized, off-season sports in an effort to get them ready for the fall season.

Yorktown’s Peter Tinaj gets set to rip one of his four goals in Huskers’ win over Valhalla last Tuesday in a summer league game.
The Lakeland Summer Soccer League and Lakeland Summer Field Hockey League provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for local communities from Rye (lower Westchester) to Mahopac (Putnam County), and all points in between, to gauge their programs and see what they have returning in September. Not only does it allow local coaches to see their own players in action, it gives them a glimpse of what they’re up against once the Section 1 seasons begin in earnest. From the top teams in the league, to those that may be struggling, everybody gets a shot to see what they have and what they need to improve upon.

“I’ll tell you this,”Hourahan said. “Class A soccer is absolutely loaded again, and the top teams are all playing summer league.”

This year, the league added a bunch of teams and has 15 programs playing summer soccer at Lakeland.

“These Class A teams are good and I would be shocked if one of the 10 teams playing in this league from Class A are not in the sectional finals come the end of October, if not two teams,” Hourahan said.

Section 1’s recent boys’ soccer champions return some of the top players and rosters going into 2021. Rye, Byram Hills, Somers and Yorktown all will be considered legitimate title contenders in Class A and all have shown great level of play already in summer league. Eastchester is an up-and-coming team in Class A and has the goods to beat any team this fall on any given day, including summer league wins over Somers and John Jay EF this July.

“There is always a team in Rockland in Class A to contend with, too, and recently it has been Pearl River,” Hourahan said, “but I am hearing a bit about Tappan Zee and even Clarkstown North, who just dropped down from AA. There is always Greeley as well, who remains in A, so with 30 total teams it will be one of the most competitive classes in any section in New York. That is for sure, and we have some of the very best getting after it already in our summer league.”

If it weren’t for coaches like Sarsen and Hourahan, this opportunity would likely not exist, and since my own daughter competes in the summer field hockey league I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks! Thanks for going out of your way every single season to do right by our kids. Folks have no idea how fortunate we are to have coaches like these two kicking butt and showing up for all of us…


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