NORWALK, Conn. – Lacrosse might be a spring and summer sport in Fairfield County, but it is a year-round commitment at the Sono Field House.
Beginning with its Little Laxers program for 3 year olds, Sono Field House can provide instruction for players all the way through high school. Lisa Lindley, longtime coach at Darien High School, has also started a travel club program whose home base is at Sono.
“There’s an explosion in girls youth lacrosse especially,’’ said Scott Johnson, general manager at Sono Field House. “It’s almost a 50-50 split. The largest and most attended classes are players in grades 5 to 8 and in high school. There will be 50 or 60 players for some of them. That’s a testament to the coaches. They’ve coached throughout the area for a long time. It’s an environment where we have a lot of coaches from different areas.”
Sono’s Director of Sports Programming and Assistant General Manager Stephanie Calabrese started a Little Laxers program for kids ages 3 to 7 three summers ago. A new session started on Oct. 28 and will run for seven weeks.
"Our Little Laxers program provides any family an opportunity to participate,"' Johnson said. "It’s affordable, all the equipment they need is here, and families can do it in a social atmosphere. Families don’t have to make a huge investment and have hundreds of dollars of equipment stuck sitting at home.”
The advantage at Sono Field House is that the programs take the kids right through high school. "We’re all fighting for those kids that are between 3 and 8 years old,’’ Johnson said. “Then you have them and they can keep playing for another 10 or 12 years.”
Lindley and Jeff Brameier, boys coach at Darien High School, are directors of the of the lacrosse programs at Sono. The coaches include Amy Alvord, Liz Mosher, Molly Crosland and Amanda Mastera, all of whom have been successful coaches of girls high school teams or part of club programs in Fairfield County.
Paul McNulty, who has coached powerful high school teams such as Wilton High School and at Staples High School for two decades, is among the boys coaches along with Paul Burke, who has been on staffs at successful programs in Darien and New Canaan and was head coach at Greenwich. The strong coaching staff at Sono has increased expectations among players as they develop new skills.
“We still have fundamental clinics,’’ Johnson said. “We’re also offering more advanced clinics. The customers told us they’d like to see us ramp it up a little bit. The attendance has been great.”
The lacrosse programs are just the beginning at Sono. The first session of winter youth baseball and softball clinics began last month. Adults can practice golf in clinics conducted by Total Golf Adventures. Soccer, field hockey and football are also played at Sono, which can also host birthday parties and corporate events. The Field House also has a rare rock climbing center and a high ropes challenge course.
“You only have so much field space,’’ Johnson said. “I wish we had one more pod. You run out of places to do things. In January and February, especially, we take up so much field time with adults leagues and our youth and high school lacrosse leagues. You just run out of space.”
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