BENNINGTON — A couple dozen fifth and sixth graders watched from the stands as Mount Anthony boys soccer took a 1-0 lead into halftime against Rutland at Spinelli Field on Thursday night.
At the half, they became the action as the Southshire Thunder and the Southshire Lightning of the Southshire faced off under the lights and in front of the fans in a 10 minute exhibition match.
Both teams are part of the Southshire Youth Soccer program, which provides kids from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade in Pownal, Woodford, Bennington, North Bennington and Shaftsbury an opportunity to learn and play the game of soccer.
Southshire is part of the John Werner Youth Soccer League, which includes eight clubs from Southwestern Vermont and Eastern New York.
Thunder coach Jason Andrick said getting to play on the high school field is something the kids look forward to all fall.
“They come, they watch the varsity boys and varsity girls play, they get excited,” Andrick said. “They were all pumped about it, looking forward to playing under the lights. This is what they’re going to be doing in a few years.”
As they rise to the high school ranks in the next three to four years, Spinelli Field will become their home, and they hope to emulate the Patriots’ performance on Thursday night, a 2-nil victory, their eighth of the season.
Southshire Thunder roster: Finn Crowl, Hasib Sadat, Oliver Poole, James Sauer, Preston Willette, Carson Willette, Cooper Andrick, Andrew Bennett, Miles Smith, Donovan Smith, Tyson Walsh, Conrad Poole
Coach: Jason Andrick
Assistants: Jim Poole, Jim Cormier
Southshire Lightning roster: Gus Sobolowski, Colton Pratt, Wyatt Lozier, Zach Nofziger, Max Salvesvold, Dakota McGowan, Emmet Brownell-Wilkins, James Kolar, Kiernan Burns, Ethan Cross, Johnny Kosmas
Coach: Matt Lozier
Assistants: Matt Nofziger, Todd Salvesvold