Cape Soccer kicks it up a notch

At Play

Program to add mandatory skills sessions for players and coaches

November 15, 2006|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special To The Sun

The way Dan Wolin sees it, Cape Soccer will move forward by going back to the basics. The commissioner of Cape St. Claire Recreation Council Soccer is preparing to hire more experienced soccer instructors to show the young players the fundamentals of the game - and the coaches new ways to teach them.

"I want the kids who play to have better skills than they currently have," Wolin said. "We've gotten a lot of good feedback from the coaches on this; they want to have it."

Wolin wants to add a mandatory skills session each week starting in the spring, where experienced coaches work with the players and coaches.

Youth soccer has grown in popularity over the last 10 to 15 years both nationwide and locally, but many coaches grew up with no exposure to it.

"I didn't play competitive soccer," Wolin said. "I came into it as a coach five or six years ago, and I had to learn. I know the basics, but I never claimed to be an expert on this. I can see where we can improve and make this a better program overall."

Kevin Healey is the president and general manager of the Baltimore Blast, which won the Major Indoor Soccer League championship last spring.

Healey has spent many seasons coaching kids and said that coaches need to teach children to not only love the game but also its finer, more "technical" parts.

Some groups get away from that, he said, and it's why he believes that Cape Soccer is making a good move with this yet-to-be-named program.

"If you teach kids how to properly do it and how to fundamentally do it ... they'll do it right and have a better chance to be successful," he said. "Some kids just get away with athletic ability early on, but it catches up to them later in life."

Cape Soccer's teams play recreation soccer - not travel-team competition - in the Anne Arundel Youth Soccer Association.

Its scheduling is done through the county Department of Recreation and Parks, even though it's not a county program. Cape Soccer has about 600 children in this fall's program and about 400 in the spring.

"It's growing steadily every year," said Rick Pleva, president of the Cape St. Claire Recreation Council. "Parents increasingly are not only interested and open to this sort of opportunity, they want trained coaches, and they want the best bang for their buck."

Wolin said scheduling the extra practice would be challenging - especially with the difficulties in getting everyone time on the fields. The league's coaches are meeting next week to talk about how the program.

He also noted that the cost of the program would increase slightly to cover the cost of the instructors.

Wolin's other concern is to make sure the volunteer coaches understand he has no problems with them. He just wants to help everyone teach and play the game better.

"We're a recreation league, and we're trying to build players, trying to teach them but also give them [good] skills," Wolin said. "I'm trying to meet a need."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.