By Gini Davis
The Creswell Chronicle
Approximately 25 kids ages 6 to 13 attended this year’s Creswell High School Youth Soccer Camp, held Aug. 8-10 on the Creswell Middle School turf field. The camp was all about learning and practicing the fundamentals of the game in a fun, enjoyable environment.
“It was all around a great week,” said CHS Girls’ Soccer Head Coach Janelle Sailer.
Some kids were new to the sport, while others were more experienced youth league players looking to further develop their skills.
“Whether you’re an experienced player or have never played before, this camp has something for everyone,” Sailer said.
Sailer headed up the camp, along with new Boys’ Soccer Head Coach Brandi Wittenborn – the longtime girls’ head coach before stepping down a year ago – assistant coaches, and returning CHS players.
Wittenborn was named the new boys’ coach during the three-day camp, replacing David Nickelson, who has accepted a new position outside the district.
Campers spent time working on soccer fundamentals such as passing, dribbling and shooting. “One of the favorites this year was a drill where they got to go one-on-one against another player in order to score,” Sailer said. “It was a very competitive and fun drill.”
Divided into two main groups, ages 6 to 8 and ages 9 to 13, campers also participated in scrimmages and another camp favorite, World Cup. During World Cup, as with the one-on-one drill, campers “learned and practiced how to work together as a team, get open for passes and play with other players their own age,” Sailer said.
The traditional final day tournament was bypassed this year because “we had such a big age difference,” Sailer said. Instead, “we just let them scrimmage against other kids their own age.”
Temperatures near the century mark the first two days of camp and lingering smoke in the air didn’t seem to bother the young campers, coaches said. “We made sure and gave them a lot of water breaks throughout the three days,” Sailer said.
The cost of the camp was $35, with proceeds benefiting the CHS soccer program. Each camper received a camp T-shirt.
The coaches see the value of the annual camp in promoting and encouraging a love of the game, as well as developing the future of the CHS program.
“Every summer, kids’ camp is a great way for the Creswell Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer program to give back to the community and help encourage young players to keep playing the great sport of soccer,” Sailer said. “We hope these camps will continue to foster more involvement in the soccer program, to continue building the future of both the high school boys’ and girls’ team.”