By Mike Ryan
Coach & Program Director, 1979-1989
I had been a youth soccer coach in Northampton for four years when Judy and I and our four children, Luke, Molly, Maggie and Bridie, moved to 8 School Street, Hatfield in 1977. Having gone to St. Michael’s High School in Northampton, my varsity soccer team faced Smith Academy twice a year in soccer and lost, usually very badly, every time. In 1962, for example, Falcon Captain Marty Wilkes scored six or seven goals on us and we lost 12-0. Hence, I was surprised to discover there was no youth soccer program in Hatfield. In 1979, I decided to start one. My first order of business was to recruit Bill Burke. We were close friends and had worked together as probation officers for several years. He knew every person in Hatfield and could charm a hungry dog into sharing his bone.
Bill’s son Bill was going into fourth grade and my son Luke was going into second so we decided on two leagues: 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders for the little kids’ league and 4th, 5th and 6th graders for the big kids’ league. At that time, there were junior high school sports so there was no need for an older kid’s league. Besides, as probation officers, we knew kids quit talking to adults at twelve or thirteen. Who wants to coach kids who just grimace and rolls their eyes at everything you say?
To read more and find out how Hatfield's coed underdog team won the Eaglebrook Junior Soccer Tournament in 1985, click HERE.