Sunday, 30 June 2019 22:57

'High interest' shows as Larsen calls Richmond's 19th annual soccer camp a success

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Campers work on small-sided games during RSHS' 19th annual soccer development camp. Campers work on small-sided games during RSHS' 19th annual soccer development camp. William Toler — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior High School’s soccer and football fields were the sites of learning, developing, and most importantly, laughing, four days last week during the 19th annual soccer development camp.

Hosted by head soccer coach Chris Larsen and the Richmond soccer program, over 120 campers battled the heat to make the annual summer affair a success. 

“It went pretty well and it really seemed like the kids had a good time,” Larsen, who is preparing for his second season as head coach, said. “I had a really good staff that kept the kids busy with some skill building and drills. The weather was a little warm, but there was no rain, so it was a solid four days.

“It’s always good when you put something on like this and the community supports it,” he added. “The big turnout shows there’s high interest in the sport. Learning new skills will hopefully help our kids and they’ll be able to incorporate them in middle school and high school ball.”

Larsen also expressed how pleased he was with everything from start to finish, stating the camp has had “continued success year after year and this year was no different.”

Campers were split into four different age groups: kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grade, seventh through ninth grade and 10th through 12th grade. With pretty even numbers across the board for each group, Larsen had several helpers on had to assist campers.

Freshly graduated players Morgan Hooks and Jayana Nicholson, along with rising junior Caroline Whitley, worked with the youngest group, while assistant coaches Michelle Denson and Daniel Webb helped with the middle group.

Jason Jones and Chris Everett, two coaches from Moore County, took on the middle school and high school girls, while longtime volunteer and Hoke County head coach Colin McDavid and RSHS junior varsity coach Tad Hamilton worked with the high school boys.

As explained by Larsen, who floated from group to group throughout the week, day one saw campers work on individual skills such as passing, footwork and fundamental building. Days two and three focused on team building skills, connecting passes, shooting techniques, putting the ball on frame and working on “finishing” each new skill.

All of that built up for a scrimmage day on Thursday before capping camp with ice cream from Twisted Treats.

“With each age group, there was a different goal,” Larsen explained. “For the little ones, it’s all about associating soccer and fun, and we wanted them to create good memories. 

“The older kids, many of them who have been in our camp before, were here to build on what they’ve already learned,” he continued. “It was nice to go from each group and see everyone having a ball.”

Many of Richmond’s returning soccer players, both boys and girls, were on hand to participate in the camp. Rising seniors Lee Hayden, Noah Jordan and Drew Davis, along with rising junior goalkeeper Kaden Walker, represented some of the boys. Hayden was back to work less than a week after scoring the gold medal-winning goal in the Powerade State Games.

Rising sophomores Ellie Buck and Kaitlyn Huff, and rising junior goalkeeper Kelly Hoffman, among others, were also on hand as campers for the Lady Raider soccer team.

For Larsen, who has been helping with the camp the past seven years and this one being his first as head coach, the skill building and player growth goes a long way. But what he enjoyed most about this year’s group was the amount of “leadership” he saw while traversing between groups.

“I enjoyed the good group as a whole, and the biggest takeaway for me was seeing a lot of kids who have come through camp the past few years coaching and encouraging others,” Larsen closed. “Sometimes people learn best from their peers, and with kids helping each other, it showed they had learned something and were applying it to help one another.

“We have a solid group of guys and girls coming up through the program the next couple of years who can lead on and off the field.”


Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_