As Major League Baseball heads for its midseason and the temperatures soar, it’s time to think about high school soccer. At least that’s what the incoming Newburyport varsity team is doing as part of the Lenny Emmons Varsity Summer League.
“We need fitness,” said incoming Newburyport senior co-captain Adam Traxler. “This helps to get our fitness back.”
Traxler, who played varsity basketball for the Clippers in the winter and soccer for the Seacoast U18 Premiere Team over the spring, will be playing forward for the Clippers this summer, a position he has had a bit of success at, racking up 19 goals in his sophomore year and 13 during the last season.
Guiding him from the sidelines will be former Clipper forward and current sophomore at St. Anselm College, A.J. MacDougall, who will be serving as an assistant coach.
“We’re looking forward to this summer,” said MacDougall. “Seeing which younger kids can emerge on a bigger stage against actual opponents in a full-sized game. And to see which sophomores and juniors can step up as leaders and bring the younger kids with them.”
Named after the former Masconomet soccer coach, the Emmons League is open to returning and incoming varsity freshmen through seniors who will be playing full regulation games on their regulation fields twice a week against varsity teams including Melrose and Stoneham as well as Cape Ann League rivals Amesbury, North Reading and Manchester Essex.
The regulation field is what makes this league a better fit for these players rather than the usual seven-on-seven scrimmages against Pentucket, Tewksbury and NHS alumni they had played in the past.
“It’s tough to tell with seven-on-seven because it’s a smaller field,” said MacDougall. “You don’t get your spacing as well. It’s tough to see who can really pick their head up and make passes or split defenses or find alleys and make runs and stuff. It’s less than half the size of a regulation field.”