These youngsters are among those who have participated this week in the annual Fairbanks youth soccer camp.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
More than 90 have participated this week
There is no question that the sport of soccer has rapidly grown into a successful venture at Fairbanks High School.
Over the past decade, the Panther boys and girls teams have had success both during the regular season and in tournament competition.
One of the reasons for that success could be the training that district youngsters receive during the annual Fairbanks youth camp that has been conducted this week.
More than 90 youngsters ages 3-14 have been learning the basic skills of the sport from the FHS boys and girls coaching staffs and players.
The camp, which is in its 10th year, began Monday evening and is scheduled to be completed this evening.
“We have been focusing on the fundamentals,” said Lady Panther head coach Randy Spain. “We also want these kids to know that soccer can be really fun.
“It has been a good camp.”
Fairbanks youth soccer campers in the 3-6 age group go through a drill earlier this week. A total of 95 children ages 3-14 participated in the camp that began Monday and runs through this evening. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Spain said the camp has helped district youngsters develop their skills so much that the sport continues to grow in Panther Nation.
The high school has fielded a boys junior varsity team for the past couple of years to go along with the varsity squad.
The girls program still has only a varsity squad. However, Spain hopes that “eventually, we will have a girls junior varsity team.”
Spain said he can’t put an exact number on those who have participated in the camp and who also have gone on to play high school soccer.
As nearly as he can tell, “between five to 10 players between the high school boys and girls programs each year started out in our youth camp.”
The camp not only prepares younger children for the game of soccer, but also helps the district in a couple of other ways.
Current high school players who help with the camp serve as mentors.
“In doing so, they can use their National Honor Society volunteer hours as well,” said Spain.
Proceeds from the camp help purchase equipment for the Panther soccer programs and assist to maintain the district’s outdoor athletic facilities.
The district recently spent $2,100 to purchase a machine to paint lines on the outdoor sports fields.
Soccer camp money paid one-third ($700) to help with the purchase of that machine.
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