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Westport Will Host Soccer Forum for School Kids

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn.  -- Connecticut high school soccer may look very different this fall.

Beginning this year, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program moves to a 10-month season. Players who are selected for that level will be ineligible to compete for their high school teams. As many as 80 high school-age boys in Connecticut could be affected.

To address all the issues surrounding high school, premier and Academy soccer, a forum called “Choices and Challenges: The Changing Face of High School Soccer” will be held Thursday, May 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Staples High School auditorium in Westport. Admission is free.

The event is sponsored by the Staples High School boys’ soccer program, Top of the Hill Team booster club and Westport Soccer Association.

The goal is to educate players in eighth through 12th grades and their parents about the benefits and challenges of various levels of boys’ soccer: high school, Academy, premier and travel.

A panel, representing a variety of perspectives in the youth soccer world, will speak. The bulk of the time will be used for questions from the audience and a discussion and dialogue.

Panelists include:

  • Kevin Anderson, Columbia University men’s soccer coach
  • Mike Noonan, Clemson University men’s soccer coach
  • Brian Quinn, South Central Academy coach
  • Kevin Bacher, Oakwood Academy coach
  • Dan Woog, Staples High School boys soccer coach
  • Steve Waters, Farmington High School boys soccer coach
  • Mickey Kydes, founder and president, Beachside Soccer Club
  • Alex Cunliffe, director of coaching, Everton America
  • Steve Baumann, former high school and college coach, former chairman of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and current  president of the Starfinder soccer/educational program for inner-city youth
  • Matt Lamb, former Staples, University of Mary Washington and Beachside player.

Moderator Mark Noonan is a former NCAA Division I national champion at Duke University. A longtime sports marketing executive, he has worked with the highest levels of US Soccer.

Panelists and audience members will discuss issues including what college coaches look for as they identify and recruit players, the aims of the Development Academy, the goals of a high school soccer program and the questions to consider when deciding which level of soccer is most appropriate for each individual player.

All Connecticut players and parents are invited. For more information, call 203-227-1755 or email dwoog@optonline.net .

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