BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee boys soccer coach Chad Kain was forced to move last year’s youth summer camp from Kazmaier Stadium to Rolf Park because of an overwhelming response in signups. This year, the camp had even more.
The youth camp this year had 121 kids sign up, approximately 20 more than last year. The camp was originally scheduled for the final week of June but had to be delayed because of poor air quality due to the wildfires in Canada; the final two days of the camp were held last week.
“The numbers seem to go up every year,” Kain said. “We planned on doing our camps in the stadium so kids could play on the turf, but the problem is, we have too many kids to use the turf. We need both fields at Rolf Park to accommodate the numbers.
“They’re all Maumee kids, too. That’s 121 Maumee kids at the camp. It’s been amazing to watch the growth of the soccer program in the community.”
The campers were broken into three groups based upon their ages, but the goals remained the same across all grades – learn the basics and have fun.
“The big thing we’ve been pushing is the skill sets … all the basic principles that we’ve been missing out on,” Kain said. “We’ve got all these young kids and they need the basics.
“And we want them to have fun. At that age, it’s about having fun.”
In fact, Kain said the fun aspect of youth soccer, whether at the summer camp or during practices for Maumee Youth Soccer or Express seasons, cannot be understated.
“The fun part is very important,” Kain said. “They need to be taught and respect the coach, but at the end of the day, too, they have to have some sort of smile.
“You have to incorporate fun. That’s what keeps them interested, that’s what keeps them coming back. Even at the high school level … when we have a rough week, there’s no problem with having fun to release that pressure and stress; then we can get back to work.”
The growing numbers of kids participating in soccer in Maumee haven’t only shown up during summer, either. Kain said there were 411 players during the MYSA season and 30 new players came out for the more competitive Express teams.
All those numbers mean one thing – more success and for a longer period of time at the high school level.
“Once kids get to 13 (years old), they’re already kind of set in their ways. The young age is where you have to develop it and push it,” Kain said.
“The numbers look good for the next few years at least. That’s what it’s all about, getting kids to learn the game and come into high school ready to go. For the most part over the last six years, we’ve been very competitive and I think that’s going to continue with what we’re doing at MYSA and Express.”