By Michael James LeClair
The young women of the Nashoba Youth Soccer program received a real treat this past week.
Members of the Nashoba Regional girls’ soccer squad teamed up with those rising female athletes to take part in the 2016 Nashoba Youth Soccer Clinic.
The clinic, which ran for three days from August 22 through August 24, was open to girls entering grades one through eight. Each day the clinic ran from 9am to 12pm on the Nashoba Regional practice fields.
Chieftains varsity head coach Renee Moulton is entering her third year at the helm of the Nashoba Regional soccer program. Moulton took a break from camp action late Wednesday morning and found some shade to take a few minutes to talk about the clinic and how she got involved.
“This is the fifth year of this clinic (previous Nashoba girls’ head coach) Pam Vaughan started it and this is my third year involved,” said Moulton. “It was started as a way for the older kids to be able to give back to the community and also as a fundraiser for the soccer program as all the money we bring in goes right back to the program.”
According to Moulton, she is not running the clinic but is more of a supervisor to make sure things run smoothly. Instead, she is letting her varsity players run the camp.
“The seniors run the whole thing, they plan all the stations and the activities, I oversee everything but for the most part, it’s all the girls,” said Moulton. “They love it. They love being out here and being a part of this so that makes it easy for me. It’s great to see everyone out here enjoying it.”
Close to 70 athletes attended the three-day clinic that emphasized individual player development in a fun, competitive environment.
The clinic worked on fundamental skills like: passing, receiving, shooting, ball control and footwork through drill stations and competitive games between clinic attendees.
Three Nashoba senior varsity soccer players joined Moulton in talking about the benefits of being a part of the clinic. Jacquelyn Harnett, Keagan Castles and Katie Piccioli all showered the clinic with praise.
“This is a really good way for the younger kids to interact with the older high school kids and learn how to improve their soccer skills,” said Piccioli, who has been involved in the clinic for four years. “It’s three days long and we’ve had a lot of fun working with the younger kids.”
Harnett echoed her teammate’s words.
“Like Katie, I’ve been involved since the eighth grade as a camper and I really enjoy this because we organize and run the whole thing. Everyone is helping and contributing,” said Harnett. “It’s a great for the high school players and the little kids to really bond and build friendships with girls from different towns.”
The clinic was open to female athletes from the neighboring towns of Bolton, Stow and Lancaster and according to the Harnett a handful of girls from Maynard.
“This clinic is a great way for the younger girls in the community to really get a sense of what Nashoba soccer is all about,” said Castles. “It’s great that these girls look up to us. A lot of them come out to our games during the fall and ask to be ball girls. They remember us and they really enjoy being a part of this.”
When asked what the goal of the clinic was, Moulton didn’t hesitate.
“The goal of this clinic is to inspire the younger kids to learn about the sport and fall in love with it,” said Moulton. “I think the girls would agree that having the chance to work with the younger female athletes and show them what to do and teach them about the game is very important.”