NORWALK, Conn. – Friday’s Class LL boys soccer state championship game between Norwalk and Fairfield Prep will feature teams that are very familiar with each other. In fact, many of the players are teammates on Beachside Premier Soccer club squads.
Between the two teams in Friday’s game, which kicks off on Friday at 10:30 at New Canaan High, 19 players from the Norwalk-based Beachside team will be playing in the contest. Many of them have been with Beachside since they were 11-years-old. Norwalk coach Chris Laughton also coaches in the Beachside program.
“I’m going to root for both of them,’’ said Beachside Director Mickey Kydes. “But I’m a Norwalk alum, so I have an allegiance toward them. And they play the Beachside style as much as any one.”
Many of the players have been on Beachside teams that have won state and regional championships. And while it is not unusual for Beachside to be represented in the state championship game, this year is exceedingly high.
One of the interesting battles during Friday’s game will be watching the Beachside players going against each other. They know the strengths and weaknesses of each other because they play so frequently together.
Norwalk’s Kevin Joslyn said one of his best friends is Prep’s Patrick Connolly, a New Canaan resident.
“I know how he plays, and he knows how I play,’’ Joslyn said. “It will be interesting to play against him. We’ll be friends before and after the game, but during the game we’re both out there to win.”
Beachside has been one of elite soccer programs in Connecticut since it was established in 1994. Kydes, a former star at Norwalk who went on to play professionally, enjoys watching his players compete for their high school teams.
“To a degree, it’s some validation of our program when they Beachside kids and their high school teams do well,’’ Kydes said. “But the ultimate factor is where they end up going to school. We’ve sent a lot of players to some top college programs.”
The delay in the state tournament, caused by Hurricane Sandy, has effected Beachside’s teams as they prepare for a tournament this weekend. The players in Friday’s games will not be available to Beachside until Saturday.