“I want to provide an environment for the girls to excel in soccer while playing with their own gender,” said Nathan Brown, Shine head coach. “It will develop self-confidence within themselves and will then build better soccer abilities.”
Confidence is too often crushed in young girls when they train at a co-ed camp, according to Brown. He said several parents have reported their daughters are less aggressive and often intimidated by their male counterparts. Some girls decide to refrain from playing soccer until they are older due to their unease.
Brown said there is no reason for girls to have to play soccer with boys if they don’t want to.
“Here is the deal. If any of these girls really want to play in middle school, high school or club soccer, then they are going to be playing with girls,” Brown said. “If they are playing in college, then they are going to be playing with girls.”
Brown said, “From the start I want to give them an idea of how it is going to be. They are not competing with guys, they are competing with girls.”
Shine will start Monday, July 8, and run through Thursday, July 11. All girls ages 4 to 12 will participate in a variety of skill-building games from 1 to 5 every afternoon. Groups will be on a rotating schedule to allow for breaks under the large tent. Brown assured there would be water provided for anytime a player is thirsty.
Roughly 10 coaches, all players from Lee University’s Men and Lady Flames Soccer teams, will provide extra instruction alongside Brown. These coaches will ensure a low coach-to-player ratio. According to Brown, a cap of 70 has been placed on the first Shine Soccer Camp. This means there will be at least one coach for every 10 players, with three additional to spare.
Coaches will offer instruction as they encourage the young girls through skill-building activities and the Soccer Olympics.
“... We take the concept of the Olympics and add a soccer ball to it,” Brown explained. “We will do a 100-meter sprint, but they will have the ball at their feet. We will do the javelin toss where they have to throw the soccer ball.”
Additional events include bowling — with hands and feet— archery and a dodgeball type obstacle course.
“[The dodgeball competition] helps with vision and peripheral vision,” Brown said. “Hopefully while they are running, they will be able to see where the opposing player is coming from.”
The “opposing player” will be soft balls being gently kicked along the ground toward the young players. Shine girls will dribble their own ball while navigating around the kicks from the coaches.
“So when they are running, they are looking and seeing when a ball is coming on to them,” Brown said. “... Everything is geared toward soccer and getting them to that next level while having fun.”
“At this age, it should all be about having fun.”
He cited an article printed in a recent soccer coach magazine entitled, “Are Coaches Responsible for Eliminating Young Soccer Players?” The article reveals the top reasons why youth play sports: to have fun, to improve skills, to stay in shape, for the excitement of competition and to do something they are good at. Reasons why students quit include: I lost interest, I was not having fun, coach was a poor teacher, too much pressure and an overemphasis on winning.
Brown said fun is an important component of training at this age.
“The key thing I want to provide is an opportunity for girls around those ages to shine,” Brown said. “I want them to have the opportunity to shine in their environment without any other factors.”
Shine Soccer camp will take place on Ocoee Middle School’s soccer field thanks to its centralized location in Cleveland. Registration is now open and forms can be obtained by emailing Brown at Coach Nathan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of the program is $55. For additional information, contact Coach Nathan Brown at 423-503-0019.