Harwich Police Detective Sergeant Bob Brackett’s motivation to begin the Harwich Police Soccer Club in 2012 was to provide local boys and girls with an opportunity to play soccer in a re-imagined way.
“Everybody plays soccer on grass on a field, 11-on-11. I wanted to come up with unique things that these kids will carry with them forever and they’ll remember back, which is why we started the futsal program indoors,” said Brackett.
Futsal is a form of indoor soccer, and the Harwich Police Soccer Club’s futsal program typically takes place inside the Harwich Cultural Center gymnasium during the winter, though it hasn’t met since 2020 due to COVID-19.
In addition to futsal, Brackett and the club have also organized beach soccer at Red River Beach during recent summers. Although the Detective Sergeant said playing on the beach has been a blast, he wanted to create a new soccer environment the local kids could cherish this summer.
That’s why he put in the legwork to secure the donation of Mettle Sports’ street soccer pitch from Mass Youth Soccer. The soccer pitch — or “cage” as Brackett and the kids like to call it — is set up in the Harwich Community Center parking lot and plays host to pick-up games Tuesday nights.
“There are very little rules,” said Brackett. “We let these kids play without any interference from us. We let them figure it out for themselves. If you’re taking it seriously, you’re in the wrong place. And that’s the whole idea — it’s fun.”
The street soccer program began July 13 and will end Aug. 17. Boys and girls ranging from the third grade to recent high school graduates play alongside each other in co-ed 20-minute scrimmages. The younger kids begin around 5:30 p.m. before the high-school aged kids start rolling in around 8:30 p.m. to play under the lights.
“It’s fun,” said 19-year-old Sam Chase, a Harwich resident and Monomoy Regional High School graduate set to begin his sophomore year at Mass. Maritime in the fall. “It’s good to get some touches on the ball and play around and get some exercise. The setup here is so sick. When I drove by, I was like, ‘I have got to play on this.’”
“I have never played street soccer before,” added another Harwich resident and MRHS grad Abby Wallace, 20, a rising sophomore at the University of New Hampshire. “It’s fun to get out here and play with everybody, especially because some of these kids are from my town and I know them.”
All of the Harwich Police Soccer Club’s programs are free for kids, funded by the Harwich Police Association and its donors. Those interested in street soccer can email any questions to email@example.com. Donations can be made out to the Harwich Police Association with a note mentioning the soccer club and brought to the police department.
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BradJoyal