By Emily J Weitz
There is little more quintessentially fall than a kids’ soccer game on a Saturday afternoon, sliced oranges divided up at halftime, a crisp breeze in the air. Traditionally, on the East End, parents have largely been the sports coaches offering their children and their peers support on the field, but now young athletes on South Fork will have a new resource to turn towards.
Southampton Youth Services (SYS), with its sprawling campus on Majors Path, has all the facilities in place to offer clinics and leagues of all types of sports. With its recently built indoor tennis facilities
and brand new indoor soccer and lacrosse courts, Future Stars at SYS has now moved in to bring kids and adults the kind of athletic outlets they may have been missing.
“Future Stars has been in business for 33 years,” says Pam Morrison, General Manager of the Future Stars Club. “Their home office is in Armonk, but they’ve run camps on the East End for a long time.”
In 2010, the tennis facility at SYS went up, and for the past two seasons, four of the tennis courts have been bubbled for use throughout the year. This year, the other side will be bubbled for indoor lacrosse and soccer.
“This was the goal from the beginning,” says Morrison, “bringing together the different factions. There’s a need for a program like this in Southampton. When we were little we would come home from school and just go out and play. The world is different now, and this offers kids a structured environment where they’re learning, getting healthy emotionally and physically, meeting friends.”
Morrison noted many kids don’t get into organized sports until it is offered in school, which in some cases isn’t until seventh grade. This is detrimental to their long-term ability to compete, she said.
“We are little bit behind the rest of Long Island,” says Andreas Lindberg, Turf and Site Director at Future Stars, who is in charge of building the new programs. “We don’t have sports year round in the same way, and it affects high schools out east. In a lot of programs they are behind in development. Hopefully we’ll be able to get more people playing year round, and their abilities will increase.”
Lindberg, who is the men’s soccer coach at Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus, has found that there is a difference between kids who grew up on the East End and kids who were raised in more densely populated places.
“It was difficult for [East End] kids to get onto college teams because they aren’t good enough,” he says matter-of-factly. “I’d like to change that. I’d like to see kids go to college and play. A lot of the high school coaches are loving this [Future Stars] because the kids will get the training.”
To that end, Future Stars is looking to build relationships with schools and outside organizations, like All-Pro for baseball.
“We want to get kids the proper coaching starting in kindergarten,” says Lindberg.
This year, Future Stars will unveil a host of new offerings, including clinics in soccer, baseball, field hockey, flag football, and lacrosse. From there, they hope to develop leagues wherever there is a
demand. Participants will be broken down into age and skill levels, and leagues for adults are part of the plan.
“We’re working with schools, clubs, and youth organizations,” says Lindberg, “but people can also come in and rent the space from us. They don’t have to be part of a clinic or a league. They can create
their own leagues or rec games.”
“This is really a family place,” adds Morrison. “We have some families who started with us when we first opened in 2010. We even have some second-generation Future Stars families. We’ll see kids
coming in after school, moms playing in the leagues in the morning, and dads playing in the leagues at night.”
The biggest thing is raising the awareness that this resource is here. That’s why Future Stars plans to offer an open house at SYS on Saturday, September 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We’ll have demos, court time, games, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet the coaches and staff,” says Morison. “I think a lot of people aren’t aware of what’s really up here, that when the weather gets crummy, there’s something good to do. It’s a little secret but it shouldn’t be. We’re right here, super affordable, and here for everybody.”
Future Stars is located at the Southampton Youth Services, 1370A Majors Path in Southampton. For more information on programs, call 287-6707.