This month we are featuring our football (soccer) coaches at Forest Lake Camp. We are fortunate every summer to welcome a team of counselors from the UK who bring excitement, personality and solid football skills to the pitch each and every summer. With this team of soccer coaches this summer we are sure to have fun, improve our skills and maybe even win a tourney or two!
Hi everyone my name is Anna Genders…..
I was the head soccer coach last year at FLC alongside Jade Miles. I gained experience through a number of
assistant coaching positions and gained several coaching qualifications in England before becoming head coach at FLC last summer. My passion is soccer and I competed in a semi-professional league for Curzon Ashton Ladies Football Club.
I like to combine football skills with teaching methods and regardless of skill level and playing ability, it’s all about having fun! Just like any sport, I try to look at what is needed to develop the children to reach their maximum potential.
It is important to recognise that every player is an individual and will learn and develop in different ways, and at different speeds. That is why the player is always the main priority in my coaching sessions. I love to incorporate fun games into sessions which encourages learning.
I love coaching soccer at FLC because the main focus is to get everyone involved and to have fun unlike other camps I saw when we competed in inter-camp competitions that focus on winning and winning alone. FLC is more fun-orientated and that is what I love the most.
Reflections for veteran soccer coach Brett Booker………..
I remember my very first Soccer activity session at FLC as though it were yesterday. Back in 1990 (the first
year of girls camp) there was only one soccer field, what is
now known as the Girl’s Soccer Field. The goals were made from rustic lengths of pine trees and the goal nets hung vertically to the ground. Normally when scoring a goal you don’t get the instant gratification of hitting the back of the net when the ball crosses the line but with these goals the nets almost hung outwards onto the field. The field itself was immaculate, the grass so well cared for and as I strolled down (not going through girls’ camp) to my very first activity period at FLC I remember thinking how bluey green the grass looked.
My assembled campers were a real cosmopolitan bunch made up of avid soccer players from South America, a couple from the US and a few who had been ‘closed out’ into Soccer. I remember 1 was wearing riding boots, most were wearing trainers(sneakers) and 1 camper and myself were wearing football boots (that’s cleats to you).
My outfit that day consisted of my prized Real Madrid soccer shirt with the number 9 on the back as a reference to my favourite player at the time, Hugo Sanchez, famous for bicycle kicks and somersault celebrations.
I lined up my trainees and we jogged around the soccer field with the back pair sprinting to the front every now and again before we spread into a circle and stretched from head to toe.
I then took a ball and gave one to everyone before requesting that they each pass the ball into me with my
idea being that I would be able to judge the skill level of my
group. The first boy picked the ball up and threw it to me American Football style, while the second dragged it back, flicked it up onto his knee and volleyed it effortlessly onto my chest. I instantly knew this would be a great Summer. A Summer coaching some students who really knew how to play the game and also those who had never kicked a ball.
I missed out on watching England progress to the Semi-Finals of the World Cup that year, the equivalent of missing out on seeing the Superbowl or that great 1980 hockey match between the USA and the Soviet Union. Did I mind ? not one bit. Head Counselor Mike Clarke gave daily updates as to how we were progressing in the outside world and with each competitive match against a local camp I gave updates on how we were progressing. In my 4 years as the coach of the Junior and Senior soccer teams at FLC we only lost 1 match, away at a round robin camp competition, we must have played close to 40 matches, so not a bad record.
As the camp song goes, fond memories of summer days and I have so many.
Players names such as Auerbach, Tannen, Padilla, Agueverre, Kliment, Bernstein, Baquero, Ramires and Confer are just a few of those I remember making the team. Bus rides and Pizza rewards from Marco Polos for a job well done, just a small slice of the memories we shared.
The greatest game? Well surprisingly I could mention the time I took the FLC basketball team to Echo Lake but since this is Soccer related it has to be the 4-4 tie with a local high school varsity team. Having raced into a 2-0 lead, the physicality of the big senior high school players took it’s toll on our team and we leaked 4 goals in the second half, as well as being reduced to 11 able players. The bank that looks down onto the girls field was full with elevated legs and ice packs as the entire FLC camp watched on. From a corner we pulled a goal back and as time was ticking out (verbal countdown from the watching campers) a long ball downfield was volleyed into the goal, the referee shouted ‘time’ and as the camp celebrated, the faint echo of that ball hitting that straight vertical net could be heard travelling across the Adirondacks.
The Soccer programme has progressed to 2 fields and 5 teams. 2 from each camp and a co-ed team and each year coaches from all over the world come and share their knowledge with the campers. A lot has changed then ? Not really, the energy and enthusiasm remains the same, as does the commitment to fair play, teamwork and leadership. I now give updates on the outside world sporting news and current coaches updates on how we are progressing in camp competitions.
I no longer do bicycle kicks or somersault celebrations, like Hugo Sanchez I have long since retired from the game, but I still get an enormous amount of joy from watching the current FLC stars playing and following in the footsteps of the many many athletes who have honed their skills over the 90 or so Summers at camp. The nets no longer hang straight vertical but the satisfaction of hearing the ball strike the net remains the same.
Tennis Dan becomes Soccer Dan this summer! Below he shares his excitement!
I guess really football (Or soccer as I must now call it!) has been my entire life growing up! I have played it
most days of my life and just love every minute of it whether I’m watching it or playing it myself. I currently play for 2 teams and have a season ticket to watch the mighty Newcastle United play every week! So as you can imagine most of my time is taken up by the beautiful game!
I am delighted that this year my main role/ one of my main roles at camp will be on the soccer field. I Love walking down to the field every day with a group of excited campers ready and eager to play. Everyone, no matter what their skill or ability gives it 100% and has a great time doing it! I am even more excited this year to be joined by coach Luke, we have some great ideas ready for 2016!
One of the things about soccer at camp which I really loved last year was the counselor vs campers and Venezuela vs rest of the world soccer games (which unfortunately the counselors lost!). There is a real buzz and excitement all around camp when the games are coming up and it’s fantastic to see the whole camp involved, whether it be playing in the match or just cheering us on!
2016 is looking like a fantastic year for the soccer department, although campers must beware- The counselors are desperate to win this year!!
Can’t wait to see you all in the summer, Coach Dan