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Shane Strohecker interview: MC boys soccer future looks bright

The future of the Mifflin County boys soccer team is in good hands.
With travel teams and off season skill enhancing practices, the sky is the limit to the future Huskies thanks in part to the dedication and organization of coach Shane Strohecker.
Hometown sports editor, Kenny Varner recently sat down and talked to Strohecker about the coming season, the recent group of kids coming up through the program and the great direction the group is starting to take.
HS: With going into the Mid-Penn
It seems like there has been a big increase-popularity in boys soccer. Not everyone gets to see what is going on behind the scenes but tell me about some of the things that are happening with the youth program.
SS: We started a travel team with the boys three years ago with 12 boys and this last season we had two teams of 12 and we currently have 50 boys between the ages of eight and 14 playing at the Lions Den right now. So the success that that First travel team has increased the numbers on the boys side in the last three years.
HS: How long have you been working with the Mifflin County Soccer Club?
SS: I have been coaching youth soccer for about seven or eight years ago starting at the YMCA and also in the Rec League. After a couple of years at coaching at that level, Barrett Knepp and I were talking one night and saw the skill sets of some of the girls at the Rec League level. So we started a travel team for girls and after we saw the success in that and my son reached the appropriate age to play travel soccer I branched off and started a boys travel team.
HS: Does the travel team compete all year round?
SS: Typically, we try to do things all year round. Usually at the end of the summer we start getting the team together and we start practicing. Then we go through the fall travel season and compete in the CPYSL right outside of Harrisburg. We use that to roll right into the indoor season at the Lions Den. Then because a lot of the boys play baseball in edition to playing soccer. So it’s really tough to get commitments out of the kids in the spring. So this year, what we decided to do was put out a list of tournaments that did not conflict with the baseball schedule so that the boys would have a chance to play baseball and also spend one weekend a month playing in a soccer tournament. Since we put that schedule out for the weekend tournaments, the parents have reached out and we are compiling lists of tournaments we can actually play at. It looks like we will be able to play at least one tournament a month from now all the way into August. Then the plan is to go and play in a beach tournament in August down in Brigateen, New Jersey. We took a group of boys there last summer and they competed well, finished in second place. This year, we are looking at having three teams in three different age groups. So it’s exciting stuff.
HS: I noticed this year when. I was covering the Mifflin County Soccer Clubs championship games there are a lot more kids out than what I have seen in past years, do you see this co tinge to grow in popularity?
SS: Yes I do. That’s a great thing! I think these younger kids are seeing the success these older kids are having at the travel level and parents are seeing that we have teams that can compete outside the area that can go to tournaments and do well, can play in the CPYSL league and do well and they are getting their kids started younger. That’s the key, professing, working together, playing together and progressing through the years and that’s where it starts at. At the Rec league level.
HS: Recently, talking to Barrett Knepp, he said that a majority of his teams have been together as a group for years. Is that the same with your group and do you think that helps when the players move up through each level? Is it the same way with the boys?
SS: with the increase in numbers it’s been hard to keep certain age groups together. Now there has been a key group of boys that would be considered U11 right now that have been together since the beginning. I would say seven or eight of them. These seven or eight have been together and with older pieces and sometime younger pieces have always been added to them in order to fill a team. The plan here moving forward, there are somethings in the works that I’m trying to finalize that we will have some type of premiere team playing a secondary schedule throughout the fall and winter season, that would keep a strong core of experience and high level players together until they reach that junior high age group. So, there are some things in the works to formulate a more skilled premier team to stick together and compete in edition to your typical traveling team.

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