For The Tribune

Seymour youth attending soccer camps this week said there is definitely a difference playing on the turf field at Seymour High School instead of on the grass that the campers previously played on.

In the past, the camps were conducted on grass at Freeman Field.

Last fall was the first season the first for the Seymour boys and girls to play on the turf field at the high school, but it was after the camps already were conducted at Freeman.

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Seymour boys Coach Matt Dennis said his numbers are up this season.

He said 41 boys are attending his camp, which is an increase of 15 from last year.

“We’ve had a few more kids every year,” he said.

“Just by our program growing, we’re starting to see more kids come out. I coached a travel team this spring, and I’ve got some of those kids that have come out. I plugged it so they know what to expect. They knew me from coaching them in the spring.”

The boys were divided into three groups, kindergarten through third grade, fourth- to sixth-graders and seventh- to ninth-graders.

“We’ve got high-schoolers working with each group, and they’re doing a really nice job this week,” Dennis said.

“Our travel numbers are going up, our rec numbers are going up, and the high school camp is going up. I have more kids coming to offseason weights for the high school team this year. I expect more kids at tryouts than what I had last year.

“I think our facility helps that; I think our record in the fall in winning conference helps. There’s a lot of positives with our program right now. It’s good to see our high-schoolers out here working with the boys to make sure that is a tradition that continues.”

The boys camp was conducted in the mornings and the girls camp in the evenings.

Greg Musser, coach of the Seymour girls, said his numbers were a little less than he hoped, but that was because a lot of the girls that would normally be attending the camp just came off their club seasons.

“We’ve been down the last couple years as far as registration,” Musser said. “I think a lot of it has to with a lot of these girls are coming off their club season, especially the older girls. The younger girls are coming here and having a blast.

“The older girls, we’ve been lacking in those numbers the last couple years because we’ve really been pushing the travel league and they’re just getting done with their season as this camp starts. A lot of times they’re wanting a little bit of a break.”

He divided the girls into two groups, with 10 girls in the kindergarten to third-grade group, and he has two girls in the older group and is able to give them a lot of individual work.

Both sessions focused on sharpening technique and growing IQ.

“They’re all learning the basics,” Dennis said. “All three groups, the first couple days we got into individual skills. We did moves to beat an opponent. With the older kids I worked one view on defending as well.”

He said the campers did a lot of passing and technique Wednesday and Thursday.

“With the middle age group passing is two-touch, quick play, using a little bit of the move they learned the first two days, and then passing, where with the older group we’re getting a little more intricate where we’re introducing the overlap,” Dennis said.

The campers were able to work on their shooting Friday.

“Every group took part in shooting activities,” Dennis said. “They’re here for 75 minutes, and we’re trying to get them about 40 minutes of skill, like technical work and improving their individual ability and 30 minutes is play. Can you go play 3-verus-3 and show me how you use what you’ve learned in the first 40 minutes?”

Huth (Sylas) Broderick, who will be a third-grader this fall, said he enjoyed the camp.

“I enjoy everything about soccer,” Broderick said. “I enjoy playing goalie, mostly. I love being goalie. I play for the travel team (Cyclones) in Seymour. When I get in high school I want to play for Seymour, and in college I want to play for Butler soccer.”

Jackson Sutherland, who will be a sixth-grader at Immanuel Lutheran this fall, said this is the first year he has attended the soccer camp.

“I enjoy the people and the game, everything,” he said. “Any time there is a game on TV that I can watch, I watch it. I started soccer last year, and I’m trying to get as much work in as I can. I’m a striker on my travel team (coached by Dennis), and I play any of the midifield.”

Jessica Hougland, a goalie on her U13 Seymour Cyclones team, said she has attended the camp for several years. She began playing soccer at age 12.

“I just like being the back wall,” she said. “We play with the high school (regulation) goals.”

Hougland, who also plays basketball and tennis said, “You have to have good footwork and good positioning.”

Avery Musgrave said this is the first time she has attended the soccer camp, and she just wanted to improve her soccer skills.

“This is my first year attending the soccer camp,” Musgrove said. “I’ve played with the (U12) Cyclones two seasons. I’m mainly working on my defense. I like the fact that soccer is a team sport. It’s nice to work with your friends.”

Musgrove, who will be in sixth grade this fall, also plans to attend tennis camp next week.

Musser said he and high school goalkeeper Aidan Hiester worked with Hougland on her moves in the net.

“I coached Avery in club so I kind of know what she needs to work on so I’ve kind of given some individualized instruction to those girls and let my high-schoolers and the assistant coaches run the younger girls,” he said. “They did a great job with them.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.