Friday, 31 May 2019 15:25

Raider soccer to host 19th annual development camp; spots available

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Campers work on dribbling drills during RSHS' soccer development camp last summer. Campers work on dribbling drills during RSHS' soccer development camp last summer. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School soccer program will host its 19th annual soccer development camp this summer, and it’ll be the first one under the solo direction of head coach Chris Larsen.


Having just wrapped up his first school year as the boys’ and girls’ head soccer coach, which saw both teams make it to the NCHSAA state playoffs, Larsen brings with him eight years of experience in helping with the camp. He co-directed last year’s camp with 30-year veteran Bennie Howard and served as an instructor the six years prior.

“This will be my eighth summer working with the camp,” Larsen, a former Raider soccer player, said. “I started with the youngest age group and have worked up through the different groups each summer.

“Camp will hopefully run very similarly to years past,” he added. “We’re always looking to grow the number of participants and expect a lot of campers this summer.”

The four-day camp will be held from Monday, June 24, through Thursday, June 27, at RSHS’ soccer facility, and is open to local male and female players ages six to 18. Each day, the camp will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and campers will receive a t-shirt for their participation.

Last summer, over 110 local youth players from Richmond and surrounding counties participated in the camp. For one player, camp is $65 if that player is signed up before the first day -- late registration, which is June 24, is $70. For families with more than one participating camper, the cost is $120 for two players.

With roster spots filling up quickly, registration forms can be picked up at RSHS’ front office, as well as FirstHealth Fitness. Area elementary and middle schools will have them in the coming week.

New this year is the ability to pay for camp online at www.k12paymentcenter.com. To pay this way, select the “continue as guest” link and then select “North Carolina” and “Richmond County Schools” to find the soccer camp option.

Checks can be made payable to Richmond Senior High School and sent to the attention of Coach Larsen at P.O. Box 1748, Rockingham, N.C.

With the success of the high school programs over the last several years, coupled with the growth of the sport in recreation and travel programs across the Sandhills, Larsen us aiming for the camp to continue to develop players’ skill sets.

Richmond’s camp will also be welcome and encourage new players to the sport, while giving top-tier quality instruction to developing high school and middle school players.

Campers can expect participate in a variety of on-field drills, including instruction on the correct ways to pass, trap, finish, and cross a soccer ball, maneuver and communicate on the field, while also emphasizing proper shooting techniques and boosting soccer IQ.

“What I hope each camper takes away from camp is the ability to find new drills to practice to become a stronger player,” Larsen explained. “They’ll also learn new things they’ll need to focus on to become better soccer players, and get a more adequate knowledge of the game.

“The goal is to have fun, as well as renew their passion and enjoyment for playing soccer,” he added.  

Assisting Larsen will be an all-star cast of high school coaches and college players, including members of his own staff. Richmond junior varsity head coach Tad Hamilton, boys’ assistant coach Daniel Webb and girls' assistant coach Michelle Denson will be on hand, as well as former players Morgan Hooks and Jayana Nicholson (Cape Fear Community College signee).

From outside of Richmond, it’ll be camp regular Collin McDavid and Jason Jones. McDavid is the long-time head coach at Hoke County High School who has helped Howard in the past, and Jones coaches soccer at the O’Neal School in Moore County.

As in years past, all of the funds raised from the soccer camp, after paying for the t-shirts, will go straight into the soccer program’s general fund for the upcoming season.

This past school year, the Raiders finished with a 12-10 overall record and made it into the first round of the NCHSAA state playoffs. The Lady Raiders posted a 15-5 overall record, and earned a No. 8 seed and first-round bye in the playoffs, the first time that had happened in program history.

“The biggest reason why we hope kids attend camp is for them to have the ability to play and practice with people they are not accustomed to playing with and to see different competition,” Larsen explained. “Camp will help them learn how to judge, read and react to different players and identify what their strengths are and what skills they need to focus on.

“It’s also nice to work with a different coach and have a new set of eyes watching to help make each player the best he or she can be,” he closed. “Hopefully camp will help build a friendship with local players and the soccer community.”

With spots filling quickly, those wanting to participate are encouraged to sign up ahead of time. Larsen can be contacted at RSHS at 910-997-9812.

Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2019 19:14
Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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