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Youth soccer powers unite

By EMERY SKOLFIELD
Published June 10, 2007


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In an open letter signed by their respective presidents, the Clearwater Chargers Soccer Club and Countryside Lightning Youth Soccer recently announced an organizational merger.

The announcement, credited to Chargers president Rob O'Nan and Lightning president Todd Foster, served as the genesis for "a long-term commitment" in which "full integration" is the eventual goal. The clubs' respective boards will iron out the details of an absolute merger over the coming year. In the meantime, both organizations will continue to operate with multiple teams at various age groups and levels.

"We are committed to work though every question and issue necessary to integrate our two organizations in the most effective way, " the letter said.

In preparation for the 2007-08 season, both Clearwater-based organizations conducted separate tryouts last weekend.

According to the letter, the long-awaited and often-discussed decision combines "the strengths and resources of players, coaches, facilities and administration" to form "an organization that will be even greater than the sum of its parts."

The Chargers' under-16 girls won a State Cup championship late last month, advancing to this month's U.S. Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championship Tournament in Oklahoma City.

Both the Chargers' U15 boys and the Lightning's U18 girls were Florida State Cup runnerups.

SWIMMING: Taylor Katz and Mark Marshburn of the Clearwater Aquatic Team each won eight individual events to garner high-point honors in their respective age divisions of the Kent B. Holdren Memorial Meet on May 18-20 in Sarasota.

Teammate Morgan Perrotti 10-under girls won five events on her way to a high-point victory.

Katz won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle, 100 and 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke and breaststroke and 400 individual medley in the 11-12 girls division. Marshburn won the freestyle at 50, 100 and 200 meters and captured victory in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, 50 and 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley.

GOLF: Nine-year-old Matthew Ruel of Oldsmar fired a nine-hole score of 40 to place second at the U.S. Kids Junior Golf Tour event at the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club in Clearwater. It was Ruel's 14th top-three finish in 27 competitive events.

If you have youth sports news for this column, contact Emery Skolfield at (727) 481-2027 or via e-mail at sptimesyouth@yahoo.com.

[Last modified June 9, 2007, 19:29:06]


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