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Summer Soccer

Since a couple families have asked, I’ve put together some ideas you might think about with regard to keeping your daughter playing soccer during the summer months, if you and she are interested in that. 

Pick-up games: Not just the cheapest alternative on the market, and the most flexible with regard to time commitments, but they also bring certain benefits: lacking the pressure to perform under the eyes of coaches, trainers or parents, the more relaxed atmosphere will often see kids attempting to show off moves and skills which they are otherwise hesitant to do, for fear of making mistakes in front of the adults. Also, the nature of pick-up games will usually mean a mixture of ages and abilities, and to be challenged by an older, more skilled opponent can often improve a player’s game. Try to encourage your child to play with family and friends whenever possible. Also, there is a good chance of pick-up games being held at Dideriksen Park on Saturdays during the summer – keep an eye out for details.
 
Training Camps: There are numerous organizations which offer training during the summer, usually for one week camp sessions. Some will take place right in Dideriksen Park. Sky Blue Soccer School will be hosting two Heather O’Reilly camps, in July and August: 3 days, 3 hours each, $125. UK Elite will also host two camps, in July and August: 5 days, 3 hours each, $155.   Soccer Centers, in Summit, is a Dutch-philosophy and coached organization, which has the benefit of an indoor field in case of rain, but the drive is 35-45 minutes away. They have camps practically ever week of summer: 5 days, 6 hours each, $210 (if you register before June) [also half day camps of 2:15 hours for $140). Princeton Sports Camps offers a camp at the end of June: 5 days, 6.5 hours each for $325, or 3 hours each for $290. There are plenty of other camps available as well, links to some of which can be found here. If you sample a lot of these camps, you will likely note that many are similar in style and curriculum, and the difference in quality are not necessarily apparent at this age – often the difference may simply be the individual trainer that is working with your child, which is something you cannot control.
 
Tournaments: There are usually a few small-sided (anywhere from 3v3 up to 6v6) tournaments during the summer.  I will post some links as soon as I see specific tournaments
 
And remember, girls can always practice on their own. as well. Good walls make the best practice partners for passing and shooting.   A small patch of grass is all that’s needed for practicing dribbling moves, and anything can be thrown down as obstacles/defenders.   Mastery of technical moves requires constant repetition until the muscle memory develops, and if your daughters want to perfect things, it’s going to be up to them. If they don’t want to – that’s ok, too. After all, this is still Recreational soccer. But for those that want to move on to more competitive levels, it will take individual efforts on their part.

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