Youth Gain Exposure to Soccer at Camp

by Matt Wilson
The Journal Review

June 13, 2008

David Colson completed his first Little Giant Summer Soccer Camp Thursday. The 9-year-old had fun, and is ready to come back next season.

"I was able to get to meet a lot of friends," Colson said. "I learned how to do a lot of 1-v-1 stuff and how to make moves on the offender."

The Wabash Little Giant and Little Little Giant soccer camp concluded Thursday when the 4- through 10-year-olds showed their parents what they had learned during the four-day camp. It was the third year Wabash coach Roberto Giannini put on the camp that around 25 players attended. In previous years, the camp was for 6- to 10-year-olds. This year, Giannini decided to open it up to 4- and 5-year-olds.

"We opened it up to 4- and 5-year-olds because most of them had brothers and sisters in the camp and they would just be sitting there waiting for them to get done and they were itching to get on the field," Giannini said. "This just gives them exposure to the game."

The 4- and 5-year-olds had a week of fun activities that included a maze game, retrieval drills and coordination and balance drills. The older campers go through technique and instruction and at the end would play a scrimmage game.

Giannini said most of the 25 campers are returners from last year.

"We want them to have fun with the activities, but at the same time we want them to learn something," Giannini said. "Having fun and learning something go hand in hand. Over the four days we want them to learn about a dozen things that they didn’t know before. Because the learning process is just as important as having fun."

Assistant coach Jeff Oleck and Aaron Blessing, Giannini’s former assistant who is now the girls coach ay McCutcheon, are helping Giannini. Oleck, a four-year starting goalie at Valparaiso University, helped with the older campers. Blessing worked with the younger players.

"I learned how to do a lot of soccer moves like step-overs and things like that," 11-year-old Nathan Bowers said. Bowers said his favorite part of the camp was scrimmaging.

"We worked on a lot of 6-on-6 stuff," Bowers said. "Sometimes the coach even plays with us."

Wabash’s soccer camps continue next week when Giannini is hosting a team camp. Southmont and Western Boone’s boys teams and Southmont’s girls team will be at the week-long camp. Mike Aycock, who is the women’s soccer coach at St. Mary’s of the Woods College, will help instruct the Southmont girls team.

Along with teaching soccer skills on the field, Giannini also will talk to the players about the recruiting process from the college perspective. He also will talk about nutrition and weight conditioning and overall behavior and attitude.

Giannini said the team camp also serves as a good recruiting tool for him.
Recent Harrison High School graduate Ian Kelly came to the team camp as an individual last year. Kelly is part of Wabash’s incoming freshman class.

The team camp runs 5-8 p.m.

Matt Wilson is a sports writer for the Journal Review.

Photo - Joss Maynor and Kieran Smith battle for the ball during Little Giant Soccer Camp Thursday at Wabash College. Photo by Matt Wilson.


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