For the past three years, Craig Youth Soccer player Rowan DuBois has attended the Major League Soccer Camp sponsored by the Craig Youth Soccer Association, and each year has been a learning experience for him.
"The camp has been real help rounding out my game," DuBois said. "It improved my ball handling all the way through my kicking."
The camp will be back in Craig again, scheduled to run Monday through Friday at Woodbury Park.
The five-day camp is designed for all levels of players, from those who are taking their first steps on a soccer field, to those who are seasoned shot takers.
The camp is able to handle the wide spectrum of player skills by dividing the participants into age groups. There will be three age groups at the next camp: 7- to 11-year-olds, 12 year olds and up and a high school girls squad.
"The coaches and players who come to instruct the camp work well at tailoring the programs to the kids' skill levels," said Ray DuBois, Craig Youth Soccer secretary/treasurer and camp coordinator. "No matter what, a kid who gets involved with the camp will take something away with them, even if it's just an expansion of what they already know."
There will be no high school boys squad at this year's camp, because it conflicts with the upcoming high school soccer season. Without the high school boys soccer players, the camp is expected to draw around 40 participants this year.
"I'm planning on talking to the high school coach to see if he's interested in getting his players involved with the camp," DuBois said. "If he is, we may try to move the camp to an earlier time in the summer next year."
The core of the camp's instruction will be conducted by professional soccer players, almost exclusively of European origin.
The professional instruction by coaches and players is one of the camps strongest attributes, DuBois said. In fact, DuBois said participants will be learning soccer from people to which the game is second nature.
"Since almost all of the instructors are European, they have a much better handle on the game than many Americans, since they grew up almost solely on soccer," he said. "The kids in turn benefit by learning from seasoned players, and learn perhaps a style of soccer that has a little bit more of a European twist."
While the camp offers top-notch instruction, it is by no means a miracle worker, DuBois said. In fact, DuBois said that much of what the camp offers is an extension of what the players already know.
"What the kids will really take from the camp is a new way to use what they already know," he said. "It will teach them to utilize what they know already in new or different ways."
To register for the camp, contact Ray DuBois at 824-1085, registrations will be accepted up to the day of the camp. The camp's cost will be $95 per participant.