By Kevin Perrington-Turner, Contributing Writer
SOUTHBOROUGH – Now in its second year, the Southborough Soccer Development program is a camp for kids to come out and have fun. It is open to all ages between 5th and 10th grade for all ranges of experience.
Already done with its first session, the second week of the camp is set to run from Monday, July 26 through Friday, July 30. Spots were still available online as of July 16.
Camp founded amid coronavirus pandemic
Co-founder Matt White started the program last year with three other friends, Alex Lemieux, Armaan Munsiff and Nate Rhind. They became aware of the fact that during the COVID-19 pandemic, children didn’t have a camp in the summer to play soccer as many programs had to close or postpone their seasons.
“Locally, we wanted to give an opportunity to kids to have a chance to run around and [find] an outlet for their energy that was so pent up during COVID,” he said.
Despite running the program during COVID-19, the group was able to work around many restrictions, including wearing masks, taking temperatures every day and putting everyone into small groups.
“We found a way,” he continued, “You can run as a camp or a program. If you’re a program, there’s a certain amount of hours you can’t exceed and a whole bunch of other guidelines that differentiate you. But essentially, there’s less harsh guidelines to run a camp.”
Although a global pandemic was taking place, the turnout was considered a success.
“We were lucky [that], during 2020, people didn’t really have camps to go to,” White said. “I have a little sibling that plays, as does Armaan Munsiff. So, both of our younger sisters started that chain of word to mouth and they got some of their club teammates on board and it spread like a wildfire.”
Young athletes learn soccer skills through drills, scrimmages
On a typical day at camp, the group aims to build soccer skills, teamwork and mental skills with the drills.
“We start with a warmup like a community building activity,” White said. “Whether it’s star drills, stretching or passing in groups with a couple defenders in the box, it’s really towards building a rapport with the teammates, especially between the counselors and the campers.”
“After that, we go into dynamic stretching, which is basically moving around and getting our bodies ready to play a high-impact sport,” he continued. “After that we go into some drills. We set it up by stations and we focus on different aspects of the game…Then we go into a scrimmage and finish the day with a game or penalty kick contest.”
White hopes that this camp turns into something more than just a typical group development. His vision hopes to make sure each kid can get the tools they need to excel in this sport.
“Our ultimate vision is to see it strike a chord and morph into something that’s different than [the] soccer camps that are out there right now,” he said. “It can be more focused on individual development.”