By Leila Dycus staff writer
What’s the best way to support Team USA in their World Cup efforts? For a group of Morgan County youth soccer players it’s with a bunch of your friends after four days of soccer camp. Last week, June 23 through the 27, Madison Area Youth Soccer Association (MAYSA) held their summer soccer camp. The camp was lead by coach Lesly Jean-Baptiste. The players gathered at Heritage Park from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.. It’s Thursday morning; kids ranging in ages from six to 12 are decked out in their red, white and blue soccer clothes. Not only is it the groups fourth day of soccer camp but it’s also the day of the USA versus Germany World Cup soccer game. “My favorite part of soccer camp is scoring goals and the World Cup,” said youth soccer player Kaily Mitchell.
The camp ended early on Thursday, June 26 so that the group could watch the game together. Coach Jean- Baptiste said that some of the priorities of the MAYSA camp are for the kids to make friends and have fun. The chance to watch the World Cup game was a way to encourage these goals. “Our camp was smaller and we are more focused on teaching the kids the game because for most of the kids this was their first time playing the game,” said coach Jean-Baptiste. Last week’s soccer camp was a way for these kids to come together and learn valuable soccer techniques. A typical day at camp began with a group warm up followed by time to work on their skill of the day and finished up with scrimmages. “It’s fun to learn new tricks,” said youth soccer player Hayley Smith.
Baptiste lead the group but had help from other coaches including players from Georgia Military College (GMC) and the new women’s soccer coach at GMC. Each day the coaches taught the kids about shooting, kicking and passing. They also worked on how to move with and without the ball with the end goal being getting the ball in the net. “The kids like to finish with the one sided game or we play big games depending on the numbers, some times we play the boys against the girls it’s just fun,” said Baptiste.
Playing the scrimmages allowed the players to put what they were learning into action. It also allowed the coaches to see what they still needed to work on with the kids. Last week’s camp was put on by MAYSA in order to teach area soccer players the game. “I enjoy the kids, their enthusiasm and myself that’s the only game I know how to play,” said Baptiste. “I grew up playing this game and I enjoy that they want to learn some of the stuff to do with the ball.” For more information about MAYSA visit their website maysastorm.org and be sure to cheer on Team USA as they continue their journey in the World Cup.