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Seacoast United: New England's Home For Sports

By S. Mathur

At Seacoast United, soccer is much more than a game: it's a way of life. Seacoast United has gone from being a small club founded in 1992 to one of the largest, most successful, non-profit athletic organizations in the region (2012 was their first year as for-profit). A Field Hockey Club was added in 1999, and the Baseball Club in 2011.

The goal, says James Peterson, Director of Sales and Marketing, is "to provide a healthy and engaging environment for players of all ages and abilities. Teaching them valuable lessons that bridge the gap between sports and life has allowed us to grow as an organization and put child development at the forefront. These good practices have carried over into several other sports including baseball, softball and field hockey which has helped us to become New England's home for sports."

It's important to catch them young, says Peterson. A child who has a good experience early on will follow an active lifestyle for years to come: "Child development is paramount to Seacoast United's overall philosophy. Sport is an amazing tool which encourages children to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Regardless of how far the child progresses from a technical standpoint, we make it a point to teach them valuable lessons which will put them in good stead later on in life. Respect, tolerance, responsibility and accountability are important characteristics that we instill from day one in the hopes that these players will apply them to everyday scenarios."

Seacoast United has close to 200 teams and more than 5,000 members. It has gone from having two playing fields to several indoor and outdoor world-class facilities. The Club now has 10 different locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and is involved in more than 100 local towns. Peterson, says that these communities are essential to sustaining the Club: "We always go into a community with the hopes of making a difference and ensuring that every child has an opportunity to play the sport that they love."

Many of the young athletes and parents encounter in Seacoast United when they meet the coaches sent by the Club to help run clinics, camps and leagues. In 1998, Seacoast United Soccer Club was named by Nike as one of its Premier Clubs.

The Club offers camps and clinics for soccer, field hockey, and baseball. There's also a European soccer tour in the summer for players age 10-14, with training sessions, friendly matches and the opportunity to watch professional matches. Seacoast United is also committed to helping all players find the college or university of their choice. Staff and coaches work individually with players to define their athletic and academic goals and if necessary can contact college coaches and administrators.

In the fields of sports medicine and rehabilitation, the Club has recently opened a new Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Center in the indoor arena at Hampton, NH. In collaboration with the Exeter Hospital, the outpatient rehab clinic offers physical therapy with a focus on musculoskeletal injuries, post operative conditions, spine care, and sports injuries.

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