NGS Youth Clinic: Skills and Smiles
By Ellen Oliver
The Nashoba Girls Soccer team is hosting their second annual skills clinic for girls grades 1-8 for three days next week at Nashoba Regional High School.
The camp features individual and group instruction, special training for goal keepers, and an excellent camper-to-coach ratio, thanks to the participation of the entire NGS soccer team. Campers can attend any or all of the three days or can pick and choose which mornings to attend.
“The NGS Youth Clinic is a great experience both ways,” said NGS Coach Pam Vaughan. “The older girls have the opportunity to run a clinic, to coach and mentor the younger girls. The younger girls look up to them and seem to think it is great to work one on one with a high school player.
While Coach Vaughan is the camp director, the coordinators are the team’s seniors. This year the lead organizational responsibilities fall to Emily Kuefler and Cori Gillen, captains and the team’s sole seniors. “Last year, the seniors were in charge,” explained Kuefler. “With only two seniors, the juniors will be helping a lot.” Like last year, most of the team will be helping out, working with the campers, running drills and sometimes just cheering on the girls.
The campers will be split into groups by age level and ability and will rotate through four different stations with frequent water breaks. There are stations for passing, shooting and dribbling, as well as the goal keeping station. “The drills will be fun and instructional. The kids will have a lot of fun. They have so much energy and enthusiasm, its fun for us, too,” said Kuefler.
Not long ago these girls were the campers and the drills and games they played are the inspiration for finalizing the details of the clinic. “I’ve been taking my favorite drills and using them for the camp,” said Kuefler. Along with picking potential games and developing options for different skill levels, Kuefler said she’s been running tests with some home grown talent. “I tried some drills with my siblings, to see if they worked like I thought,” she said. Thomas, seven, and Sophia, five, have been willing participants during Kuefler’s dry-runs.
While the camp is centered on soccer skills, Vaughan said the campers don’t have to be soccer stars or even play soccer to enjoy the camp. Kuefler sister Margaret, now 12, attended the clinic last year and will be returning again this year. “She doesn’t play soccer and she loved it,” said Emily. “She loved the kids and the Nashoba girls.”
The camp is a fundraiser for the team, but according to Vaughan, it serves a deeper purpose to connect the community through the fun of soccer. “It’s a great thing to give back,” she explained. “It is a fundraiser, but we’re not focused on that, we’re focused on making the kids smile. Hopefully, the younger girls will be excited to come to some of our games this year and look out on the field and see the players that were working with them and be able to say, ‘I know her!’”
The camp will run August 19-21 from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the high school. Prices for the camp are: $85 for three days; $60 for two days and $35 to attend for one day.