Lower Sussex County’s River Soccer Club kicked off its summer activity with Kindergarten Camp (ages 5-7) and Youth Camp (8-14) on June 27. The camps were set to run until July 1.
The youth group meets daily from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while the little folk play for a little less — 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The youth group is taught more intermediate tactical skills while the kindergarten group just learns the basics. The emphasis is on having fun and getting some exercise — and these kids get plenty of that.
“It’s good for kids to be able to get out and play a sport and exercise,” said Michelle Roenke, president of River Soccer Club. “We try to make the camp fun or otherwise they wouldn’t want to come. They are learning skills and they don’t even realize it because they are having so much fun.”
The kindergarten group learned to dribble and control the ball through a series of games. Freeze-tag and “snakey-snakey” seemed to be the crowd pleasers, as well as games in which the coaches and kids played together.
Along with the kindergarten and youth camps, River Soccer Club is also offering a series of other camps throughout the summer.
Todd Fuhrmann (Maryland Olympic developmental coach, Chesapeake College coach and Baltimore Blast trainer) and some assistants will hold a keeper session weekly from July 5 until Aug. 23.
He will cover basic keeping, increasing reaction time and how to make the “highlight” saves. The course costs $100 for the eight lessons and is open to all area keepers of all skills, whether they are RSC members or not.
River Soccer Club will also host Brazilian World Cup soccer player Katia Cilene for a soccer camp from Aug. 1-5. Cilene’s world-renowned soccer play and knowledge of the game could serve to benefit those who participate.
“Katia is a really great example for these kids to follow,” said Roenke.
River Soccer Club will host two five-day camp sessions for advanced players, starting on July 11 and July 18. The advanced camp will be run by coach Steve Kilby.
Kilby brought the Waves traveling team to the state finals in 2004 and 2005, in addition to taking the Cosmos to four finals out of eight premier tournaments.
According to River Soccer Board of Directors member and current Indian River girls’ and boys’ soccer coach Howard Gerken, Sussex County needed a soccer complex to meet the demand for the sport.
“There certainly was a demand for camp, and a lot of our players would have to drive a fairly good distance to go to one. And River Soccer Club gives those who are interested another opportunity to play soccer,” said Gerken.
“Right now were trying to gain a player base so we can channel them into competitive play,” said Kilby.
River Soccer has gone forward with plans to build a “super field.” The field will create multiple options for tournament play or allow organizers to configure the fields in a number of different ways to give sections of turf a rest.
River Soccer Club continues to grow in participation, likely due in part to the sport’s appeal to a wide variety of people.