Toluca camp preps young soccer players for higher level of play

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bainbridge soccer coach Jamie Ard and Toluca Academy director Fernando Tlacuatl observe an exercise players are working through.

More than thirty kids eager to gain a more competitive edge with their soccer skills lined up for drills, exercises and intense training at the Bill Reynolds Sports Complex Monday evening.

Led by Fernando Tlacuatl, director for the Toluca soccer academy that will be in Bainbridge throughout the week, these local youths were challenged on the field both mentally and physically.

Tlacuatl presented his idea for the camp to the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority in March. He, along with other local soccer coaches, believe the Southwest Georgia area can support a competitive soccer league that would provide a higher level of competition than recreation league soccer.

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Bainbridge soccer coach Jamie Ard is one of the coaches at the weeklong camp, helping Tlacuatl connect with local players interested in raising their game.

“I love how the whole concept is unfolding right in front of us,” Tlacuatl said. “From the planning stages with Jamie, we knew Bainbridge had the interest, had the talent. It was just a matter of somebody unlocking that door.”

Tryouts for the academy were last week, but Tlacuatl said everyone interested in participating was invited to join whether they attended tryouts or not.

The workouts are no slouch. Practice every day begins with conditioning exercises and agilities to get the players’ minds and bodies ready for the next three and a half hours of training.

“The whole objective of the camp is to give these kids an introduction of what competitive soccer is, so they can realize what extent they are going to get pushed and challenged,” Tlacuatl said.

Camp will continue this week every morning from 8 a.m. to noon and end Friday.