Soccer camps feature international styles

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Seven-year-old Ann Watts and her 8-year-old brother Bryan Watts race to touch Coach Anita Harris's hands during a drill at the Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp session for children 6-8 years old July 12 on the soccer fields near the Single Soldier Quarters. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer


More than 20 youths, ages 3-14, learned about passing, possession, speed and more during the Child and Youth Services Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp July 12-16 at the soccer fields near the Single Soldier Quarters.


“It’s all (European) curriculum,” said Patrick Shelton, CYS Youth Sports and Fitness director. “(The coaches) try to teach all the basic soccer skills, but they do it through movement and fun games. That’s why (each child) gets a ball.


“They want all the kids moving with a ball,” he said. “They’re high on every kid having a lot of touches with their feet with the soccer ball.”


The Challenger Sports coaches — Anita Harris of Colombia and Gabrielle Williams — used various games to coach participants through the drills including relay races and “planting seeds in a garden” to teach toe taps.

Four-year-old Mae Starks picks up “bananas,” cones distributed throughout the field, while keeping her ball rolling from cone to cone during the Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp session for children 3-4 years old July 12 on the soccer fields near the Single Soldier Quarters. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“American soccer is more individual, more direct,” Harris said. “We’re teaching them to play (soccer) from all different sides.


“Today, it’s just letting them know the rules of the game, not touching the ball with their hands and other skills they need to know,” she said.


Harris said the focus of soccer is different for each country. For example, France focuses on passing, Great Britain focuses on having the right technique, and Brazil focuses on creativity, she said.


Parents had different reasons why they signed their children up for the camp.


“Between making new friends and old ones leaving, (the camp) gives them some other people to hang out with,” said Rachel Conrardy of her daughters 4-year-old Abby and 6-year-old Charlotte. “We’re one of the few families that are here more than a year.


“It’s easy to slip into a routine (during the summer) of just watching television and not staying active,” she said. “This helps their mental and physical health and is a good way to get them outside.”


Lisa Misenheimer, mom of 3-year-old Juliana, said she wanted to give her daughter an opportunity to learn a new activity.

Six-year-old Grace Lombardo maneuvers her soccer ball past other camp participants during a drill at the Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp session for children 6-8 years old July 12 on the soccer fields near the Single Soldier Quarters. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“(Physical activity) is good for their emotional well-being as well as their health and just forming good habits,” Misenheimer said.


The next Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp is Aug. 2-6. Ages 3-4 meet from 9-10 a.m.; camp costs $95. Ages 4-5 meet from 10 a.m. to noon; camp costs $110. Ages 6-8 meet from 9 a.m. to noon; camp costs $139. Ages 9-14 meet from 1-4 p.m.; camp costs $139. A 15 percent sibling discount is available. Registration is due by today. To sign up, visit http://webtrack.mwr.army.mil/webtrac.


Other upcoming CYS YSF camps include Baseball Camp July 19-22 and Basketball Camp July 26-29. For more information, call 913-683-1362 or 913-683-2050.


Registration for fall sports is open through Aug. 3. All youth must have an updated sports physical before the first practice. Soccer, Start Smart soccer, flag football, cheerleading and running club are all available options for youth to participate in.

For more information, call 913-684-7525/7526.

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