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Young girls get a kick out of soccer camp

BY ZACH CHRISWELL | JULY 22, 2009 7:15 AM

With an estimated 55 girls ages 12 to 18 participating, the Iowa Soccer Camp will conclude today after the campers spent the early portion of this week at the Hawkeyes’ practice field, working on improving their soccer skills.

Iowa head coach Ron Rainey runs the camp, with help from assistant coach Eileen Narcotta and a few players from the Iowa team.

“It’s a good time to get players acclimated to the Iowa soccer program here on campus,” Rainey said. “The biggest thing is to have fun and learn a lot about soccer.”

The camp opens each day with a morning session, followed by a technical session. The first day of camp had the technical session followed by strength training, and the second day’s technical session was tailed by video analysis. Camp days then ended with tournament games.

The purpose of the technical skills portion of the camp is to give the girls ideas about what they can do on their own to better their skills.

“You see in our country, people out with a basketball and a hoop, just shooting,” Rainey said. “Well, we want to do the same thing soccer-wise where you can take a ball in the backyard and get better as a player.”

The girls were split into three groups: seventh to ninth grade, 10th to 12th grade, and goalkeepers.

The seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-graders started with a relay race of sorts where they had to practice keeping the ball off the ground. The older girls practiced ball control, while the goalkeepers were doing such exercises as diving for the ball and decision-making.

Narcotta said the goal of the camp works to benefit not only the young soccer players but Iowa’s soccer program as well.

“For us, it’s to get Iowa soccer’s name out into the community,” she said. “And help develop as many young soccer players as we can.”

Rainey said the camp is not only to help kids but to try to get some of the best in-state soccer players to continue playing within Iowa’s borders.

“It’s mostly to benefit the kids,” he said. “But sure, you’re doing recruiting, and you hope you get some of the top players around the state and around the region to come and be exposed to the coaching style and some of the players in our program.”

Among the Hawkeye soccer players helping out is Iowa junior Heather Windsor. Before attending college, she took part in camps similar to this one, as well as coached camps while in high school. She said her involvement makes it all worthwhile, and that she enjoys the camp just as much as the kids participating.

“I love coaching them, I love getting to be around the kids,” she said. “It’s also a great thing for them, having us out here. It’s a really high-level camp, so they get a lot of good training … so it’s really good experience for them, and all of us coaches really enjoy doing it.”


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