For The Tribune

Flossie Cooper said she had two reasons for attending the coed soccer camp at Trinity Lutheran High School last week.

“I participated because my older sister, Lucy, plays here, and I just enjoy playing soccer.” Flossie, who plays for the Seymour Cyclones U14 said.

“I’ve been playing since second grade, so six years. I like to play defense.”

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The camp was the direction of Trinity Lutheran girls and boys varsity coaches Jeff Nolting and Brandan Tabeling.

Members of the Cougars’ teams assisted with instructing the campers and participated in a lot of the drills.

“We’re pretty much working on fundamentals, working on touches, some passing and things like that, and then corporate it into a game situation,” Tabeling said.

“It’s a focus of different skills, fundamentals and techniques and getting to where they’re confident and comfortable with the ball around their feet.”

Nolting said he had the campers concentrate on passing Thursday night and Friday night they worked on shooting.

“I always hope the little kids, the campers look up to the high school kids,” he said. “It’s always good to have a role model at the high school level, something you want to inspire and play in the bigger picture.

“It’s a lot of fun for the kids, I hope. They’ve been really active, they’ve gotten a lot of touches. They haven’t been standing around. The game is the biggest teacher. You can teach so much from a fundamental standpoint, but you really have got to put them out there in a game situation and let them get a lot of touches.”

Tabeling said he enjoyed helping work with the various drills with the youngsters.

“Day One we were working on first touch, dribbling,” he said. “When someone passes the ball, can you keep it under control and kind of control the ball for your team? It’s a very underrated aspect of the game, but those good players don’t get off the shots and passes if they can’t trap the ball and keep it under control and then find a teammate.

“The first day we worked a lot on that and not only our players, but some younger kids out here to run around get some interest going on with the program.”

Trinity has expanded the sport’s popularity with numerous opportunities throughout the summer.

“We’ve been doing summer camps, and a lot of the stuff we’ve been doing throughout the summer kids considering it boring or the not-fun stuff,” Tabeling said.

“But as far as tactical training, we try to explain to them if you watch the professional, international players, every warm up before the game they’re doing little touches, little passes, little things like that. (Lionel) Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, all those guys didn’t get to where they are just because they went out to the field and shot every day.

“They worked hard at dribbling, trapping, passing, finding teammates, all the little things that add up to make the game easier.”

Another camper, Kelby Riggs said the things he likes about soccer is “the footwork and having fun with my teammates. My grandpa wanted me to work on my foot skill and everything.”

Lexi Keller, who will be a senior member of the Trinity girls team this fall said she enjoys working with the campers.

“We’re trying to improve their love of soccer showing them skills and showing them love of Christ, obviously, because that is what Trinity is about,” she said. “It’s really nice seeing them improve their faith and their skill in soccer.”

At the end of camp, the players competed in scrimmages.

“Having the guys’ team and girls’ team practice together, along with these campers, that’s the first time we’ve done 11-on-11 scrimmage in the four years I’ve been here,” he said. “It’s a totally different aspect of the game once you’re out there and you have all the space to cover and play with and teammates to look. It’s really nice having over 20 people out here today.”