Cathedral soccer camp still has room for students looking for kicks

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2001

The &uot;official&uot; start of soccer season for Natchez youngsters may be Labor Day weekend, and the high school season won’t begin until October. But that isn’t stopping more than 65 soccer campers from fine-tuning their skills over the summer.

Next week at Cathedral High, Cathedral coach Rocky Kettering will instruct children ages 4-17 at the third annual Cathedral Green Wave Soccer Camp. The children will experience a demanding workout that includes skill and technical drills, team games and physical conditioning.

&uot;At every age group from 4-year olds to the seniors, we stress a lot of fundamentals,&uot; Kettering said. &uot;We’re showing them that it’s the same fundamentals that you carry through the years.&uot;

While the camp is open to anyone – Cathedral and non-Cathedral students, boys and girls – the campers are mostly Cathedral students. It’s a good chance for Kettering to lay groundwork for the high school teams’ upcoming season.

&uot;The season starts with camp. What we do in camp is our practice for the year,&uot; Kettering said. &uot;It’s highly important to come to camp and focus. You don’t have the distractions of school and other sports.&uot;

The high school players also help Kettering with the elementary camp. &uot;It’s good to see the youngsters looking up to them. They’ll listen to the high school kids more than they will to the adults,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s fun to see kids teaching kids.&uot;

Soccer has grown in Natchez in the past few years. Cathedral fielded the first team in the area three years ago, and Natchez High had its first girls team last year. Mario Leurinda, a former Honduran National Team player, has started an under-10 select team. And every Sunday, men gather at McLaurin School to play pick-up games.

&uot;(Soccer) is here. It’s grown, and I think the Cathedral camp is an integral part of it,&uot; Kettering said.

But he knows it can still grow. Kettering would like to see soccer played year-round in Natchez, as it is in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Biloxi and Meridian. Not only would that mean more children will be playing, but it would make the local schools think about adding soccer programs and possibly help to establish more travelling select teams.

There are still some openings for the camp. Kettering said he could take about 25 more elementary-aged children and about 15 high school students.

The camp will take place on Cathedral’s football/soccer field. High school sessions will take place from 8:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. and 6:15 p.m.-8:45 p.m. The cost for attending one session is $75 and 4125 for both. The middle school camp will be from 11:45 p.m.-12:45 p.m.. it’s price is $75. The elementary camp is held from 5-6 p.m. and costs $50. Players should wear shin guards and wear soccer cleats or tennis shoes. Players not registered should call Kettering at 442-7430.

A highlight of the camp will be the presence of Alex Horton, currently a coach for three club teams in Arizona. He was an NCAA coach and instructor and was the 1998 Georgia High School coach of the Year. Horton will bring some of his male and female select players form Arizona with him for the camp to instruct players.