San Gabriel Valley.
It's there where Hand, the reigning News-Press All-Area Player of
the Year, attended the sixth annual Sidekicks Soccer Camp. The camp,
which was conducted by several former collegiate and professional
athletes, began Monday and concluded Thursday.
The 5-foot-9 Hand, who scored 21 goals and led the Tologs to an
appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs last
season, said she enrolled in the camp to improve her skills and
"Government isn't my thing, and there's a lot of reading to do in
economics," said Hand, who has scored 43 career goals. "Going to the
camp is good because you can learn about different drills that you
might not always do on your club team.
"You just want to polish your technique in passing and shooting
and make connections."
The 16-year-old Hand -- who is the only individual to attend the
camp every year since its inception -- and more than 50 other
participants learned from a superior staff that included Keri
Sanchez, Stephanie Rigamat, Dan Calichman and Ian Feuer.
Sanchez, who served as the camp's director, played on the U.S.
National team from 1990-95 and again in 2001. She was a three-year
veteran of the Women's United Soccer Assn. and helped the University
of North Carolina win four national championships from 1991-94.
The 31-year-old Sanchez, who was a midfielder/defender at North
Carolina, said the purpose of the camp was to strengthen player
"I think kids in California have a good knowledge of the game,"
said Sanchez, who is the women's soccer coach at Claremont-McKenna
College. "You want to get [the camp participants] out there and be
that much more competitive."
Rigamat, who starred at Crescenta Valley High from 1993-97, worked
with individuals on shooting.
Rigamat, who competed at UC Irvine and UCLA, will be an assistant
coach this season for the UNLV women's soccer program.
"Before I went to college, I didn't know what to expect soccer
wise," said Rigamat, who was a three-time All-CIF Southern Section
selection. "With these kids, you can see major improvements."
Calichman played for the Los Angeles Galaxy and was named Major
League Soccer's Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.
Feuer, who worked with the goalkeepers at the camp, played for the
U.S. in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He also played
several seasons in the English Premier League.