Goals, headers, high fives and handstands.
That’s what transpired on the Redmond High soccer pitch this week at the third annual Jr. Stangs Soccer Camp for girls ages 7-12. Sponsored by the girls soccer booster club, a camp-high 60 youngsters and 40 RHS players bonded with each other while focusing on passing and receiving, dribbling, shooting, agility and more to gear up for their fall soccer seasons.
One camper had others clapping and counting up to 20 as she balanced on her sturdy hands on Tuesday during the first session of the three-day camp.
It’s all about soccer and fun for the girls and coaches.
“I think for the Redmond (High) girls, I like it because they’re really embracing their roles as mentors and leaders. It’s a sense of pride for them, they really are excited to do this,” said RHS head varsity coach Stacy Masters.
Masters added that the girls are thrilled to pass the torch to the younger players to continue the solid program into the future. She said the goal of the camp for the youngsters is “hopefully sparking a desire and a love for the game that we all have.”
Camper Claire Worsley noted, “I learned that there’s a lot more people who like the same things as me (soccer). I really liked the camp counselors, they’re really fun.”
Fellow camper Keyrah Ariel added that she learned to stay hydrated in the heat and how to control the ball when she was dribbling up field. Ariel said she made new friends and got a boost when the RHS players gave her a compliment.
Other campers Malia Bruner and Maiya Moieno said they learned how to do leg traps and bounce the ball of their feet to their partners.
For RHS varsity player and senior-to-be Taylor Pisan, she not only enjoyed working and interacting with the youngsters, but got fired up to start training with her own team and engaging in 4A KingCo action in the fall.
Allison Nakamura and Lily Chirichigno, also varsity players and seniors-to-be, echoed Pisan’s sentiments about wanting to get the ball rolling on the season, which will see RHS return to 4A KingCo after two years in 3A KingCo due to enrollment figures and the influx of teams opting to play in 4A in 2016.
“Oh, yeah, definitely gonna hit it with a boom,” captain Nakamura said with a smile. She’s set on “making more memories and beating our rivals and hopefully getting pretty far in postseason and maybe state. Just kind of like marking it off as the end of the career.”
Last season, the Mustangs lost to Mercer Island in the league championship game, and Chirichigno added that on the bus ride home, the players already began thinking ahead to the next KingCo title match.
“It’s been ingrained since last season and it’s unfinished business,” she said. “We already have our sights set on some big things.”
Last week, however, the varsity girls zoomed in on teaching the campers how to play Mustang soccer and prepared them to be future RHS players. Nakamura said they are all part of an invaluable interaction between older and younger players.
Calming down nervous players and guiding them on the pitch are part of the camp game plan, Nakamura added.
“Honestly, the best part is growing the bonds that you have with the girls,” Chirichigno said. “The first day meeting them and learning their names, and by the last day, they’re sad to say bye. You kind of like gotten little friends.”