A few months ago young Conner Travis of Berlin Township, won a chance to host a soccer clinic for his team. Conner won this by participating in the annual Chinese auction held by the Berlin Township Parent Teachers Association. With my own experience as a USSF and New Jersey High School referee, I also enlisted the aid of former Rutgers- Camden soccer star Colin Law to give the boys some of the finer points of the game.
The concept was to teach and show Conner, along with his Berlin Township Athletic Association's teammates, the game of soccer from a referee perspective.
They were shown the proper use of the "throw in", how it could be used to a team advantage, what makes a "throw in" good and bad as well as deciding whose "throw in" it was.
Heading the ball is an art not used by many of our younger players. Why? The young are afraid to get hurt. By showing the team how to properly head the ball a lot of fears were put aside.
One of the lesser-used skills at this age is using the chest to trap a ball and dropping the ball to ones foot. This skill set proved to be amusing to the players. With a little work they began using this idea to their advantage.
Coach Colin then began instructions on power kicking the ball. It took awhile to get the team away from toe kicking but once they got comfortable with Colin's instruction the power kick began to work for them.
The rest of the clinic dealt with the determining factors of a ball in or out of bounds, the difference in hand signals used by the referee and a general discussion about sportsmanship.
By special request of Conner, he asked to go into the goal and have Coach Colin and Referee Jim take shots at him. Of course we did and Conner learned a new appreciation of the goalie position. In time, I could see Conner learning to be a goalie.
Again, CONGRATULATIONS to Conner. Thank you for the opportunity to help you and your teammates. Good luck in the season and your soccer future.