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Soccer Club of Newington

Soccer Club of Newington

Our History

1956 - Clem Lemire First Director of Newington Parks and Recreation

Newington was one of the first small towns in Connecticut to actually have a P&R Director. The town/families wanted someone to maintain local parks/fields and promote activities so their children would have a place to play. The only organized league at the time in Newington was basketball. Bob Potter and Dale Reese worked for Travelers and Aetna respectively. They lived in the same neighborhood in Newington about 4 houses apart on Knollwood and Brentwood Road. One day Bob gave Dale a ride home from work and they started a conversation about the fact that there was no soccer in town. They had a desire to start organized soccer as both had 2 year old sons. Dale had played soccer in prep school at The Gunnery and Bob grew up on soccer in Scotland and had also played professional soccer on Long Island. When Bob Potter and Dale Reese approached Clem about starting a Youth Soccer program, he was all for it. As a fairly new director he was happy to do this since it “would be good to have soccer in town”. Very few high schools had soccer. Big schools had football, the smaller schools had soccer. No other surrounding towns had P&R soccer at this time. Soccer was played primarily in prep schools due to there English heritages and influences. Newington High School did have a soccer team at the time, though not very good and Clem thought this would be a great way to help improve the level of play once the kids got to High School. Evidently the Newington H.S. principal was the one who started soccer at the H.S. level as he was a former Springfield College player.

1960 First year of Newington Youth Soccer

The program was started with 4 teams - Rangers, Celtic and Rovers were named after three of Scotland’s top soccer teams But both Bob and Dale felt that one of the teams should be given an American name so they came up with Knights for the fourth team. Parks and Rec provided all of the soccer balls and initially converted old basketball jerseys into soccer jerseys to start. Bob wasn’t happy with the boys playing soccer in basketball jerseys and was soon able to get soccer jerseys from Germany. Ranging in age from 4-13, any boy up to the age of 13 could play as both Bob and Dale put their own sons on the field at 4. The program started with only 40 boys, but quickly grew. As it grew, ages were broken down into age groups. 

Growth of Newington Youth Soccer

In 1963, Newington Parks and Recreation received national attention for their athletic programs as mentioned to Bob Potter Jr. by Clem Lemire. Working in downtown Hartford, both Bob and Dale came into contact with a lot of people from surrounding towns and always talked the program up. As a result, a lot of parents outside of Newington wanted their kids to play. But, it was decided to keep it limited to Newington residents knowing that it could cause problems. It was then that Bob Potter had offered to help others get their towns to form soccer programs. As this happened, informal inter town games started which eventually led to leagues. By starting the Newington program, it indirectly helped surrounding towns start there own soccer leagues.