For decades now, Concord and Carlisle have been soccer towns.
Concord-Carlisle High School’s boys and girls teams are routinely in the mix for Dual County League and state titles and have won more than their share of them, too.
The players on those teams, however, don’t just arrive in the ninth grade, ready to take on some of the top competition in the state.
They have to start somewhere.
For many, if not most of them, that somewhere is Concord-Carlisle Youth Soccer.
With more than 1,400 boys and girls taking part in C-C Youth Soccer’s spring programs, it functions as a feeder program for the high school teams, but it’s also much more than that.
“We offer something for everyone,” said C-C Youth Soccer president Mark Thomas.
What the largest youth program in Concord and Carlisle offers three different levels of soccer. Most players start in the in-town program, which begins at the pre-Kindergarten age and goes up to fifth grade. There’s a travel program that goes up to the eighth grade and has teams competing against other towns in Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS).
Volunteer coaches, 260 of them, teach players in the in-town and travel programs the fundamentals of the game.
There’s also a club soccer program that partners with Liverpool Academy. It’s a year-round program that is for players born in 2015 up to high school athletes. In the winter, the professionally coached Liverpool Academy program practices at Millworks in Westford. It plays competitively in the fall and spring.
“It’s a way of keeping kids in Concord and Carlisle,” Thomas said.
There are 180 players on 10 teams in the Liverpool Academy teams, another 700 in the travel program and the rest play on in-town teams.
Thomas, a native of England, was the president of business operations for the Boston Breakers, a team that played in the National Women’s Soccer League. He’s been with C-C Youth Soccer for five or six years.
“The most important thing is that everyone has fun,” Thomas said.
In addition to a spring season, CCYS also has a fall season. The spring runs from March until the second week of June. The fall starts in late August and ends in mid-November.
Toward the end of this month, CCYS will hold evaluations and tryouts for the travel and club teams.
While the high school programs have benefitted from CCYS, CCYS has benefitted from the high school programs.
“The relationship is really good,” Thomas said. “(C-C girls coach) Peter Fischelis) has been very helpful. (C-C boys coach) Ray Pavlik is a coach leader.”
For more information about Concord-Carlisle Youth Soccer, please visit CCYSoccer.org.