The Weber State University women’s soccer team hosts several soccer camps throughout the year, but last week they held their most popular and best attended camp.
“Everyone practice juggling for two minutes, and then we will take a water break,” Weber State soccer assistant coach Mike Manning cheerfully yells at a group of young soccer players at this year’s camp. “Remember, if you want to get better, then this is an essential skill to help you get there!” From the laughs and cheers of support, it seems the youngsters take his advice with gusto.
On Tuesday, young players from the community went through a basic drill to warm up for a day of practice and advisement on the WSU practice field.
“While many kids will go out to some lake in the woods for summer camp, we give them a camp experience that puts them close to home,” said Manning.
The coaching staff has more of an advisory role in these camps, letting the players take the spotlight in teaching the skills to the attendees. Junior midfielder Chansi Crompton has participated in this camp before and said she loves every minute of it.
“I love being a part of this camp,” said Crompton. “Not only do I get to share my skills with the children, but we create a growing fan base for our upcoming season.”
The team gets a boost of attendees with each camp. Attendance aside, the players enjoy the chance to give each kid a better skill base that they can practice and use in the future.
The skills that help the Wildcats succeed are taught to each and every participant. “It’s good to get involved,” junior defender Brecken Holbrook said. “We spend so much time focused on fundraising and conditioning, but it feels good to give back and help young players grow.”
Holbrook is often approached by parents outside of the camp asking her to train other children. “I don’t necessarily want to be a coach,” said Holbrook. “But I do relish in the opportunity to help young players to grow and to train them in skills.”
Manning also pointed out that this camp is not only for the participants, but the team as well.
“Not only do we get the opportunity to help young rising stars develop their skills, but this camp, because it is the only one with a price tag, will help cover many of the fees for our regular season,” said Manning. Even though the team took home the Big Sky title last fall, the funds will be a necessary stepping stone for this season.
“We have 11 home games this next season and we really would love the home support,” said Manning. “That’s 11 opportunities for us to show Wildcat pride and have the home-field advantage.”
The Wildcats open their season with an exhibition game on Aug. 16, when they host in-state rival Utah State University.”We are a bunch of cute girls who play soccer pretty good,” said Holbrook. “We don’t do this for ourselves, we are doing this for the school, for you.”