LAURINBURG — The St. Andrews Soccer Academy is entering its tenth year.
The four-day camp is run by the St. Andrews men’s soccer team and head coach Stevan Hernandez and is for boys and girls ages five to 16-years-old. The dates for this year’s camp are June 12-15 with campers having the option to attend for the full day or just a half day.
The goal of the camp is to have fun, according to Hernandez.
“Campers begin the day with jokes,” said Hernandez. “The kids are encouraged to bring their best jokes to share with coaches and campers.”
After the rib-splitting, players did the kids up into group warm-ups that feature music and fancy footwork. If it’s a cool morning, Humphrey, the camp mascot, has been known to make an appearance. Stretches follow the dance party as campers break into their different age and skill level groups.
“Kids learn an appreciation of the game while developing technical and tactical skills to help them become better players in a fun, nurturing environment,” he said. “The camp is designed for the first time player yet also offers development for a seasoned youngster.”
Hernandez says there has been a surge in soccer players in the seven to nine-year-old age group. Scotland County Parks and Recreation just wrapped up its first season of indoor soccer and those players who are passionate about the sport can continue to hone and refine their skills with the Knights.
The university and Parks and Rec coordinate as best they can with their respective soccer programs. Hernandez said the two entities keep in touch to try and balance what each is offering the kids in the county.
The camp is not only beneficial to the children and teens attending, but also to the members of the Knights soccer team that help Hernandez.
“They get to play an important role in building their foundation in their sport through guidance, encouragement, and skill-building as a coach,” he said. “Not only that, it shows dedication to the sport and demonstrates community service. Sharing their knowledge of the sport to a younger generation will be something they will remember and appreciate after camp is over. Often times, they find the real reward is in being showered with love and admiration — and maybe Gatorade — from their younger players.”
After interactive warm ups, the campers work on technical skills like passing, receiving and dribbling. Once the campers have worked on their skills the sessions are finished with game-like situations or scrimmages to test their knowledge. The camp is structured to benefit the first-time players and to develop and challenge those who have playing experience.
For those interested in participating in the full-day of camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $120. Campers receive a T-shirt and lunch will be provided each day. Half-day camp is $65 and runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]