The Lake Tahoe Community College welcomed 35 campers to its inaugural soccer camp this week.
LTCC’s mens soccer coach Ben Wade, along with five players from the school’s mens team, ran the camp for players as young as 4 and as old as 16. Campers were grouped based on age and skill level.
The group of younger campers, ages 6 and under, were focused on making the sport fun and engaging. The 7-10 age group starts to focus on the foundation of the game including first touch, passing and receiving, and the oldest group works on the more advanced technical skills.
“At this age, there’s a certain training chart that I use that’s based on the Olympic training chart,” Wade said.
Campers who are more advanced for their age group have the chance to move up and with a camper to coach ratio of 7-to-1 there is more opportunity for one-on-one training.
The camp is full day and focuses on developing skills as well as getting of the field to teaching young players about cross training and nutrition. The off-the-field learning gets the players inside to avoid exhaustion.
“Kids this age start dropping like flies with a full day camp and by the end of the week no one is left,” Wade said.
He was happy to say that, as of Thursday, all the campers were still in attendance.
The campers traveled to the beach on Wednesday for a break from playing to swim and play games and was a favorite among the youngsters.
“Wednesday we went to the beach, that was pretty fun,” said 11-year-old Kobe Stitchon, who also said he’s been working on a lot of passing, shooting and defensive skills.
Kobe’s sister Simone, 8, likes meeting other campers.
“My favorite day was the first day because I learned my new trick and met a lot of people,” Simone said.
She described her new trick as “stop the ball and swing it around and follow it backwards”, also known as a pull back.
The coaches at the camp are all members of the school’s first mens soccer team set to play this fall and many of them are here from overseas, including Ross Gray from Scotland who’s working with the 7-10 age group.
“I do this back home in Scotland. I like to help them develop their skills and become a good footballer,” Gray said.
Wade hopes to expand the camp next year by bringing in more older campers and attracting players from outside the area.