Seymour boys soccer coach Matt Dennis decided to conduct a coed youth soccer camp earlier in June and said he couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout.
“We had 72 boys and 22 girls,” he said following a session at the varsity soccer field.
“It’s almost double the maximum we’ve ever had,” he said. “I don’t know if missing out on camps last year meant that everybody wanted to do something this year, but I think it’s awesome that we had 94 kids that decided they wanted to come out for a week and enjoy the game, enjoy the field.”
The campers were divided into groups: Kindergarten and first grade, second and third grades, fourth through sixth grades and seventh through ninth grades.
Members of the boys high school varsity team worked with the younger groups, and Dennis coached the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders.
“The high-schoolers have done a really good job of getting to know the kids and learn their names and have fun with them,” he said.
“My goal every year with this is one, the kids have got to have fun, two, I want every kid to leave knowing a high school player so that maybe they come to a game this fall and say, ‘Oh, that was my camp coach,'” he said. “I’d like to get those guys out and maybe honor them at a home match or something. I want those kids to play on the turf someday.”
Dennis said they are teaching mostly fundamentals and trying to do a lot of dribbling drills.
“We’re trying to get a lot of games where everybody has the ball so there’s not a lot of standing in line, so hopefully, we’re keeping every kid active and having a lot of fun,” he said.
Olivia Compton attended the camp for the first time.
“I’m trying to become more engaged with soccer,” she said. “I’ve learned how to dribble, pass better.”
She said she worked on dribbling the ball with her left foot.
“I enjoy that I can be more active and practice more,” she said of camp.
Compton said she wants to play on the Seymour Cyclones in the future.
Mason Williams, who has played with the Cyclones, has been playing soccer for four years and has been a goalie a lot of that time.
Williams, who also swims, worked on making saves in front of the net.
“I’m working on reaction stuff,” Williams said, adding Dennis and the high school goalies have some good drills for him and the other goalies.
He talked about how important teamwork is.
“I love how soccer is a team sport and you don’t have to have a lot of stress on yourself because you have other people to help you,” he said.
Of the group he worked with, Dennis said he talked to them about how they play at the high school and also a little bit of tactics.
“Because some of those kids are going to come to the high school this year, but some of those kids are going to play on our brand-new middle school team, so we’re introducing them to the way Seymour soccer is versus travel or rec,” he said. “I’m trying to introduce a little more game management to those higher grades, and it has been OK. We’re still working on technique quite a lot because they need it.”
Riley Rumsey was born in Seymour and then moved to England, where he learned the sport of soccer. He then moved back to Seymour a year ago and was attending his first soccer camp here.
“Soccer is one of my favorite sports,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be a professional at this game.”
Rumsey, who is going into seventh grade, has played with the Cyclones.
“I like central attacking mid,” he said. “I try and tackle them and get the ball. I don’t have to run as much. I just pass and they score the goal.”