Youngsters enjoy Bearcat Soccer Camp

Published 5:58 pm Friday, June 14, 2013

Efrain Diaz, 13, and Stokes Moore, 11, battle for the ball during a drill at Thursday’s camp.|Justin Schuver

Efrain Diaz, 13, and Stokes Moore, 11, battle for the ball during a drill at Thursday’s camp.|Justin Schuver

Dozens of young people enjoyed the chance to learn some soccer fundamentals and have hours of fun, during the annual Bearcat Soccer Camp at Centennial Field.

The camp was open to students in the third through eighth grades, and was held from Monday, June 10, through Thursday, June 13. Bainbridge High School girls soccer coach Chip Ariail and BHS boys soccer coach Jamie Ard led the camp.

“We wanted for each of the campers to have a good time, a better understanding of the fundamentals of soccer, and a chance to focus on individual technique and team tactics,” Ariail said.

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Campers practiced a variety of skills, including ball control, passing, defense, juggling, shooting, trapping and dribbling. They also played several games and scrimmages to practice those skills.

“They all seemed to have a really good time, and enjoyed the competitive games that focused on the techniques they learned,” Ariail said.

Last week’s temperatures lingered close to triple digits, even during the 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. time of the camp. Ariail said that coaches were extremely cautious in the heat.

“We gave the campers numerous breaks and kept them hydrated,” he said. “We also had several ‘watering’ stations in a shaded area, and had large fans that misted water to help cool them down.”
Ariail also noted that he has seen interest in the camps — and soccer as a sport — continue to grow each year.

“I have seen a vast improvement in the numbers coming out for the sport, from the recreation level all the way up through high school,” he said. “The YMCA has done a great job having a soccer program available to our youth and our teams at the middle school and high school are getting more and more competitive. We had 36 kids in the middle-school teams, and 70 kids in the high-school teams, this past season.

“As an example of how soccer is continuing to develop here, you can just look at the BHS varsity boys team, which won the school’s first region championship this past season.”

Another camp is scheduled for next week, as Vinny Gill’s Warrior Soccer Camp takes place Monday through Thursday, also at Centennial Field. The camp is managed and operated by Gill, who is the soccer coach at Middle Georgia College, and it will be for high-school students.