Letter Home: Solstice Summer League

We get there, sign in, and greet our friends. We are sitting in a
tight group under a few tents relaxing, stretching, talking,
limbering-up.  There is not a soccer ball in site.  Coach Tad is
laying out orange cones on a patch of grass far from the tent.  Coach
Simon is leading us through a series of stretches and movements, same
as last week and the week before.  I’m getting so that I know the
routine and what next to expect, but that first day it seemed like we
did a thousand stretches.

Now Coach Simon is taking us on one of our slow jogs out to where
coach Tad has planted all of his beloved cones.  When we get to Coach
Tad, he has us run though his courses without the ball and then with
the ball.  Sometimes he times us; sometimes we race.  There are
multiple lines running parallel and simultaneously, so that everyone
is moving for most of this activity.  Then we slow jog back to the
tent, to hydrate and change in to our soccer flats or studs.  Since
the ground is still holding some water today, I will go with my studs
for better traction, less stride resistance.  (The first week here I
was so glad to have my Multi- studs (a multi-studded soccer shoe made
for hard ground), I heard other kids say their feet hurt.

Once we are a “cleated-group” we return to the area where Tad’s
beloved cones have sprouted into size 1 soccer mini-balls.  This is
the part of camp devoted to ballwork and ballfeel, (although we have
gone right into 5 versus 2).  I heard coach Tad say that originally
this “ballfeel” method has been given credit to someone from Holland
named Coever, or something, but that Tad overheard it described to his
father by Rudy Goetzinger, a Center Half from Germany who played for
the first team of the Schwaben AC well into his forties.  I heard Tad
talk about Rudy, once, and the stories he tells make the man sound
like an amazing soccer player.  Schwaben Athletic Club is the German
soccer club Coach Tad played for in his youth until his sophomore year
in high school.

We have three stations today.  With Coach Tad we are working on
defensive shape, Coach Simon (finishing coach) has us attacking the
goal from a Corner Kick, and Coach Brad (dribbling coach) is teaching
us two new moves. I always like Coach Brad’s station because, it lets
me try different things with the ball.  Brad has said to get really
good at a few moves, and I like two of the six we have done already
this summer.

Back in the tent the second time means we have a break before we play
our game for the evening.  I can text my friend Alex to tell her I
“nutmegged” her brother and my mom to tell her to bring dry socks.

Since my team won last Wednesday, we “get” to wear the orange pinnies
today.  Coach Tad swears he washes them, but please…

Our game is a good one even though we lose.  The best part is, now I’m
done with camp and I have no homework to go home to.  I can chill with
my dry socks (thanks mom!) and rtrn 2 txtng and playing FIFA South


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