POWHATAN – The first soccer summer camp led by Powhatan High School varsity head coaches Willie Miles and Jared Rottmund kicked off this week with around 40 participants turning out to learn and enjoy the game of soccer.
The vision for the camp, said Miles, is to grow the sport of soccer in Powhatan County to the best of the coaches' ability, as well as help enhance Powhatan’s soccer program.
“It’s a great first year; Will has done a fabulous job of putting it all together, getting the details right,” added Rottmund, the head varsity girls soccer coach, “and then what I’m most impressed with is – number-one, the turnout for the first year – and number-two, the amount of varsity players that we had want to come out and volunteer four days of their time over the summer, get up early, and come out and work with these kids. I think it’s awesome.”
“It’s a good instructional time for our leaders within our program to give back to the community as well,” said Miles, the head varsity boys soccer coach, “and maybe one day, these kids could be the future them one day.”
Through the four-day summer program, the participants are working on the fundamentals of the game - from ball control to spatial awareness to passing situations to finishing technique to establishing themselves in a defensive position - all-the-while receiving the benefits of the all-encompassing fitness aspect of the camp.
“They’re moving around the entire time,” Miles said, “and truly the coach-counselors that are seeing it – the varsity players – they’re like, ‘Wow, we do move around a lot.'”
On a bright and sunny late Tuesday morning on the lower field behind the high school, the campers battled one another for possession of the ball, smiled as they took shots on goal and both learned and received praise from varsity soccer players who took on the roles of coach-counselors.
“It’s really interesting to kind of see how the program is going to change, and I like to see what the younger, the future generation is. I can see their skill level, and I just like being part of it,” said Powhatan High School rising senior Keegan McCullough. “I’m just glad that we can do more for the people in the community and help even get kids who maybe haven’t started playing soccer, get them playing, get them interested, and maybe they can go play it further.”
“I just like helping them and seeing them how they are as little kids…and how they’re going to develop and grow,” said Powhatan High School rising sophomore Mara Rutkai. “I hope this helps grow soccer for Powhatan. I hope more people get into it…because I grew up with Powhatan soccer and it was super fun. It really helped me.”
While the camp provides a means for the varsity players to help the campers learn the game, it also presents multiple benefits to the varsity players themselves. Communication – Rottmund pointed out – is one of them.
“They’re on the other side of the drill now; they need to communicate how the drill is run, and then execute the drill,” Rottmund said. “I hear it from both sides, from the girls and the boys, is that: ‘Oh, I see how hard it really is to run a practice,’ which is great…it just makes them adaptable on the field.”
“I also think it teaches me how to be a mentor for maybe further days when I grow up and get older,” Rutkai said. “It’s good experience.”
Additionally, the camp helps reinforce the players’ own fundamentals and understanding of the game.
“When you work with the kids, you kind of see what mistakes they do, and you can kind of translate it to what I’m doing,” McCullough. “You can do some self-reflection and…you can remember it for yourself to work on.”
The players have also enjoyed getting to teach the campers.
“They’re super-cute and funny, and they really like soccer,” Rutkai said. “It’s really fun teaching them.”
Rottmund pointed to their emphasis on teamwork within the camp.
“We trying to show them the teamwork from the counselor side right down to the camper side,” Rottmund said. “You’ve got to work as a team, and Will has done a nice job…I’m hoping this is the first of many of these camps, and he’s done a fabulous job of building a solid foundation.”