The goal was to build enthusiasm for future players to get kids excited about soccer

PMG PHOTO BY LON AUSTIN - Kannon Whiting puts his left foot into a shot during a soccer camp coached by CCHS boys soccer coach Bryan Housley.Last week, Crook County High School head boys soccer coach Bryan Housley ran a camp for all ages of soccer players.

"The goal was to build a bridge between the 500 kids that are doing the parks-and-rec soccer into high school, to try to get them excited about one day playing high school soccer," Housley said. "Just a bridge so that they can continue playing and know that they've got a good system ahead of them — and that it's a different breed of soccer from parks and rec."

Camp began on Monday, July 18, with Corban University head coach Tim Kagey directing the 16 high school boys and girls who came to the clinic.

"Bryan was my high school coach," Kagey said. "Coach distills a whole bunch of confidence in his players, while still holding a very high standard. He always gave us a lot of freedom to try new things, as long as you stay focused."

Kagey was orginally slated to be there for all three days of the high school portion of the clinic, but Housley canceled when there were just 10 high school students pre-registered for the camp.

"I didn't really feel that having 10 high school kids was worth his time," he said. "His time is pretty valuable. But, being the good buddy of mine that he is, he still offered to come over for Monday, which I think was a giant carrot for the program. Hopefully, moving forward, it's something that we can start as a tradition, having him or someone from the Corban staff here for our summer series."

On Monday, Kagey was not only directing camp, he was participating with the players on many of the drills and scrimmage situations.

"It's good to meet some high schools and maybe potential prospects and to keep and instill the love of the game for everyone else," Kagey said. "There is always an aspect of recruiting. We are never going to shy away from bringing on prospects, but I was initially invited out to see some familiar faces and meet this part of Oregon. Soccer is a great vehicle to continue school. It can be a great way to help get school paid for and to continue your education. And it's a good vessel to help carry that momentum out of high school into a four-year school."

For the high school players, the three-day camp was about getting ready for the upcoming season. However, Housley had much more planned for the three days.

High school players worked on skills all morning, but in the afternoon, they became the coaches as first middle school and then elementary players worked to improve their soccer skills. Although Housley would like to have seen more high school players take advantage of the chance to improve their skills he said that it was even more important for the younger players to get to spend time with high school players.

"I started off being a little bummed not having more high school kids out," he said. "But I think that the ones that did come out benefited greatly and it was the greatest kids to have out here for the younger kids. It really turned into more of fostering the relationship between the younger kids and the high school players."

Still, the clinics ended up with 98 individuals from the three different age group participating, despite limited advanced advertising. Campers were mixed about half boys and half girls, which Housley said worked out well.

"It created some balance and, in that sense, it created some connectivity between the programs," he said. "Ultimately, that is one of my goals being on staff here: to not just have a boys program and a girls program. I want there to be a soccer program at Crook County that everybody says, you can play either boys or girls soccer and have a really good time."

Housley hopes to make the camp an annual tradition and thinks it's a great way to kick off the high school season. However, he knows that it is going to take some time to develop a program, despite the fact that this will be the 30th year that Crook County has had high school soccer.

"It's hard to find a time that doesn't conflict with all the cool stuff that's going on here," he said. "With summer school and other sports and everything else, it's kind of tough for a new camp or a new expectation to come into play, but I'm hoping that people will look forward to something like this. This was part of the 30th year anniversary. I think it should be celebrated."

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