Montevallo Soccer Camp succeeds in first year of festivities

Published 8:32 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – Montevallo High School made a big step forward in growing the popularity of soccer in the community with its first-ever Montevallo Soccer Camp from June 5-7 at Theron Fisher Stadium.

The camp was viewed as a huge success across the board, much more than anyone could have anticipated in year one.

“It went amazing, way better than I think anyone could’ve expected,” said Montevallo head girls soccer coach Rylee Holt. “It’s the first year we’ve done anything like that, and to have 70 kids show up was beyond expectations.”

The campers worked through a wide variety of their skills depending on the age group that they were in. They were divided into ages 5-8, 9-10 and 11-13 and were taught by players on the Montevallo varsity squads that the kids have grown up watching on the pitch.

The skills that were taught were ultimately an introduction into the way Montevallo plays soccer at the higher level but mixed in the fun of the sport to cater towards the kids’ enjoyment.

“Each group focused on fundamental skills for the level that they needed,” Holt said. “Starting with the little kids, passing, stopping the ball, calling for the ball, that kind of stuff, and then little small-scale scrimmages, and then with each age group, increasing the level of difficulty, all the way to the oldest group basically performing varsity-level drills that we do.”

For Holt, being able to start developing the older kids through the drills at the high school level makes her very optimistic about what is to come in the future of Bulldogs soccer, especially with the sport growing rapidly in the community.

“It makes me feel extremely hopeful about the future of Montevallo soccer,” Holt said. “We have more of our youth teams, like our Montevallo city youth teams. The amount of expansion and growth that we’ve had in that, this had to happen. We had to do a camp because the growth is there.”

A big part of those big teaching moments comes from the fact that the players get to lead these drills and convey what they have learned as high school athletes to the kids that will one day be in their shoes.

Holt believes learning that leadership is as important as anything, and she saw that during the camp.

“This camp was amazing for the little kids, but it was also amazing for my players,” Holt said. “It helped my rising seniors start to step into that role and that leadership position, and for the little kids, it showed that they really look up to our varsity players. A lot of them are at every single game throughout the season and so it was cute. It was like they viewed them as like little role models.”

All of these skills that were taught kept building up to the last day when the kids had fun with scrimmages. To Holt, that was the best part of the entire camp, but the memories that her players and campers built from those events were ones that she will carry with her for a long time.

“We ended up turning on the sprinklers and letting the kids play like they’re playing the rain like our kids do, and they just had a blast while also still practicing soccer,” Holt said. “The best moments altogether were when I saw my players stepping up, the kids enjoying themselves and I just kind of stepped back and watched it happen.”

Now that it is all said and done, the camp hopes to continue its growth in the coming years to help match what has been a highly positive expansion of soccer in the Montevallo community.