The River Soccer Club in Roxana has been preparing young athletes for generations, readying them for competitive play and sharpening their skills. This week, the club’s third and final summer camp drew to an end, just weeks before most fall seasons begin.
The KYK Summer Soccer Camp, which ran from July 13 through July 17, is designed for advanced athletes to improve as a competitive team player on technical and tactical skills. Roughly 60 kids came out this year, boys and girls ranging in ages from 9 to 15.
“Almost all of these kids are competitive skill players,” said River Soccer Club director of coaches Steve Kilby. He, along with a handful of other coaches, assembles the camps each year. “Their skill is higher than what you’d see at a recreation camp, and that allows us to work on a higher lever with them. It makes it a lot of fun for the coaches, as well. You find different ways to challenge the kids throughout the day.”
The club has picked up some recognition for its preparation programs, and this year’s KYK camp, now in its fifth year, saw soccer players from Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Club teams have just completed tryouts for the fall season, and Indian River High School’s boys’ soccer season starts up in mid August.
“A lot of these kids will be playing for the club,” said Kilby. “We had a great turnout this year, and I was really surprised to see the number of signups that exploded for this camp over the weekend.”
Each day, the players work on a different themed aspect of the sport that is eventually tied together with the next. Warm-ups, group lessons and individual drills are all incorporated with one another throughout the day.
“This stuff ties into how you’d train your team,” noted Kilby. “One day, we’ll focus on passing, and a day like today,” he said, “we’ll look at finishing and striking. Then we make the connection with each lesson.”
There is a consistent number of kids in the camp each year, with most of the parents eager to enroll their children year after year.
“We have a lot of returning kids,” said Kilby. “A lot of these kids will come back each summer until they get to be 15 and 16. It’s a good option for them. We do a pretty good job preparing them, and they don’t have to drive some place far away or stay overnight. That’s when soccer camp gets expensive.”
Steve Kilby’s son, Patrick, has been helping out at camps and coaching teams throughout the seasons.
“Camps like KYK are important because the kids get the technical work every day,” Patrick Kilby said. “These guys all know each other, and the camps are an opportunity for them to stay together. A lot of them will play on the same team at the club, and when they go to camp for a week, they can really develop teamwork, too.”