Trinity boys, girls soccer combine youth camps to develop skills


With a smaller turnout than in the past, Trinity Lutheran soccer coaches Thom Hayes and Todd Jack decided to combine their youth soccer camps last week.

The coaches divided their campers into two groups, kindergarten through third grade and fourth through eighth grades. There were 10 boys and girls in the younger group and eight in the older group.

“We had quite a few of them return from last year,” Hayes said.

Both coaches said with the younger group, it is all about getting them to enjoy kicking a soccer ball.

Hayes, head girls soccer coach at Trinity, said, “With the younger group, any activity we can get them to do with the ball — and some of them don’t even seem like they’re soccer-related — it’s just getting them out here, outside with a soccer ball at their feet, playing Simon Says, Follow the Leader, and we add some games in there to make it a little competitive, but mostly, it’s just running around having fun with a soccer ball at their feet.”

Todd said, “With them, it’s repeating successful habits. A lot of watching the ball go in the back of the net, making sure that they are continually getting that success at the end of a drill, that’s what we focus on. We get them doing a little bit of everything, dribbling, passing, shooting, but ultimately with the younger group, we focus more on the experience of the drills rather than the technicality of the drills.”

The coaches teach more advanced drills with the older campers.

“When they get older, then you start teaching ‘Here’s how you strike the ball. Here’s where you pass the ball,’ more technical fundamentals,” Hayes said. “The shooting drill we just did was something we even work on with our high school team.”

Jack said later in the week, the campers worked on more team-based drills, where they worked together to accomplish the drill.

“With that group, we switch gears, focusing more on making the experience good to having a more technical focus and being more skill-based in our drills,” he said. “We have different focuses each day. We started off with ball control in passing, then focused on shooting and movement and passing to a teammate.”

Hayes will begin his fifth season coaching the Trinity girls in the fall, and Jack will begin his third season as coach of the Trinity boys.

Two years ago, Kailene Cockerham was the leading scorer for the Trinity girls, and she graduated, and last year, Emma Myers was the leading scorer and she also graduated.

“I think we’ve got some girls that are ready to step up and give it their best, so we’re looking forward to a fun season if nothing else,” Hayes said.

All the athletes can do now is condition on their own. The coaches can’t have any organized practices with the players until after the moratorium week, which is the first week of July.

Kinley Stanfield and Wyatt Raggow said they enjoyed working on their soccer skills at the camp.

Stanfield, who will be a fifth-grader at Immanuel Lutheran School, said this was her first year attending the soccer camp.

“I like kicking the ball,” she said, and added that she likes the two-on-two drills.

She is going to have a busy summer, as she also is going to attend art, gymnastics and cheerleading camps.

Raggow played the goalie position for some of the drills during one session of the camp.

“This was my first time playing goalie, and I liked it,” he said. “I want to try new things for soccer.”

Raggow, who lives in Columbus, says he also plays hockey.

“I might stop hockey after this season to do soccer, depending on how well this camp goes for me,” he said.

Wyatt and his brother, Kaleb, both attended the camp. Their brother, Zander, is a member of the Trinity Lutheran team, and they are nephews of Trinity boys coach Todd Jack.

“Zander started playing soccer, and Kaleb and my other brother, Quinn, and I started playing soccer, too, with us,” Wyatt said. “Then we took a little break, and then my uncle (Todd) started this soccer camp, and that is why we joined.”

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