Campers line the wall of the gym at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA at Tuesday’s soccer camp and listen as Judson College head soccer coach Ken  Headley gives them instructions. Players were taught new games, new techniques,and were introduced to fun activities to try while sharpening their soccer skills.
Campers line the wall of the gym at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA at Tuesday’s soccer camp and listen as Judson College head soccer coach Ken Headley gives them instructions. Players were taught new games, new techniques,and were introduced to fun activities to try while sharpening their soccer skills. -- Daniel Evans

YMCA soccer camp introduces soccer to local kids

Published 6:49pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

With the help of Judson College head soccer coach Ken Headley, the YMCA is putting on a soccer camp this week for children ages 4 to 18-years-old.

Tuesday afternoon as storms pounded the Dallas County area, Headley was in the YMCA gym introducing soccer to some campers and reinforcing basic skills to others, all while making sure it was a fun experience.

“Most of my life I’ve only coached the older, more competitive kids,” Headley said. “Every chance I get to do the younger ones, it is such a joy because it is so fun for them.”

Headley said it is important to make the game enjoyable as he introduces soccer to younger age groups. The hope is to make soccer a part of campers’ lives at a young age.

“When the kids, especially at this age, find the love for the game, it stays with them for the rest of their life,” Headley said. “A lot of times in the south, it isn’t about the game my parents played because parents didn’t play soccer.”

Headley had the campers play games like “red light, green light” and “walk the dog” to help keep them interested while showing them basic techniques.

There was even one exercise where the players kicked the ball at Headley as he tried to teach them how to control the ball as they made contact.

“You would look at that and go ‘Well, that doesn’t look at all like soccer, because they are kicking the [ball into the] coach’, but it helps them learn to pass,” Headley said. “We had another little game we call “walking the dog”. What they are doing is dribbling. Where they were trying to kick the ball off the cone, that’s shooting.”

Headley said games like that keep the campers’ attention.

“We do these fun games that keep them energized,” Headley said. “We were doing “red light, green light,” dribbling with the soccer ball. Those kind of things keep it a lot of energy and a lot of fun.”

In his older age groups, Headley said he is teaching the campers some of the more technical aspects of the game.

“They are doing a lot of the technical stuff with the ball,” Headley said. “They are learning how to cut and make moves.”

A lot of the campers are being introduced to the game for the first time, including one player in the older age group.

“They come to an opportunity like this and it is great because any kid, any size can play the game,” Headley said.

The camp runs through Friday.

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