Archive » June 21, 2012
Santa Ynez set to host soccer camps
By Willis Jacobson, Staff Writer
For a couple of weeks this summer, the soccer fields at Santa Ynez Valley Union High will be filled with players from the school’s past, present and likely future.
The athletes will converge on the campus for the second year of a series of AYSO-sponsored camps put on by Pirates’ girls head coach Rob Cantrell, who is also an assistant head coach for the women’s team at Allan Hancock College. The first session of this summer’s camps will run from July 23-27, while the second session will last from Aug. 6-10.
The cost for each of the five-day camps, which will vary in instruction and run from 9 a.m. to noon each day, is $85, though siblings will get $10 off. Players who register for both ventures, which are open to boys and girls ages 6-14, will receive a $40 discount. Both weeks will also feature a “Little Skill Builders” camp for players ages 4-5. Those events will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day and cost $65 per player.
In addition to Cantrell, several current Pirates players, as well as former athletes who are now playing in college, will serve as coaches. Other instructors, for at least one of the sessions, will include Hancock women’s head coach Rod Garcia, Cal-Poly men’s head coach Paul Holocher and Righetti High girls coach John Pranjic.
“I kind of mix it up,” Cantrell said. “I like to bring in different levels of training.”
The two five-day camps will offer different programs. The first week, scheduled to take place on the field at the Santa Ynez soccer and football stadium, will work more on individual skills, while the second week, likely to take place on the school’s Elks Field, will be more about incorporating those skills into game action.
“Technical proficiency on the ball is what we do in every drill,” Cantrell said. “We focus on ball mastery and we focus on speed, agility and quickness. And then (in the second camp) we focus on being able to utilize what they learn in those segments to be able to play the game.”
In order to keep a ratio of about 10 campers for every instructor, Cantrell said the registration will likely be capped around 100. In the past, the camp has drawn about 60 players per session.
One of the instructors for the first week this summer will be former Pirates standout Tanner McCandlish, a 2009 Santa Ynez alumnus who will be entering her senior season this fall as a midfielder at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. McCandlish, who has participated in several of Cantrell’s winter and summer camps over the past few years, said she gets a thrill out of seeing the progression of the young campers.
“I really enjoy watching the kids, even in a span of a week, improve,” she said. “Even though it’s different skill levels, they all grow in just a few days.”
The outings can also have benefits for her and the other collegiate instructors.
“I get to run around with them, which is a great way to stay in shape,” McCandlish said.
One of the keys to the camps, according to Cantrell, is that they are age appropriate. The 8-year-olds, for example, will receive less rigorous training than their 14-year-old counterparts. It is because of this that AYSO agrees to sponsor the events.
Cantrell said the camps aren’t really used as a feeder system for the high school, but that a lot of the instruction and concepts being taught are the same.
“It’s not necessarily a precursor to anything they’re going to get here at the high school,” he said, “but the methodology and philosophy that I work into all my trainings are infused into the camp.”
Like McCandlish, Cantrell said he also appreciates seeing the skill level and competitiveness rise in the players throughout the sessions.
“At the beginning of the week, it’s OK and people are having fun, but by Thursday or Friday, at all levels you are seeing a different level of soccer,” he said. “You just see a big difference in their proficiency, and that’s nice. It makes it fun.”
The main purpose of the camps, though, according to the coach, is to fill a void that many players who attempt to train year-round have found here in the Valley. As the sport continues to grow in popularity, many players are looking to participate in clinics or compete on club or travel teams, but they are being forced to commute to other cities to do so.
“What we’re seeing now is that because the popularity of the sport has grown, we’re getting players who want to take their training to a different level,” Cantrell said. “I want to be able to provide at least one opportunity for those kids to get training here locally and not have to drive out of the Valley.”
Any net profits from the camp will go toward the Santa Ynez girls soccer program, though Cantrell acknowledged that it’s not a big money-maker after all the expenses are covered.
He recommends each camper wear proper soccer attire – including T-shirt, shorts, soccer socks, shin guards and cleats – and bring with them plenty of water and a light nutritious snack, such as fruit, granola or string cheese, each day. Players are also encouraged to bring their own soccer balls if they would like.
“And sunblock is super important,” he added. “You wouldn’t believe how much sunblock I go through at these things. It’s gonna be hot.”