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Same old formula doesn't get old at St. Francis Summer Soccer Camp

Soccer: For nearly quarter of century, Golden Knights Coach Glen Appels has been teaching campers with same approach.

August 02, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Samantha Frias, 12, turns and dribbles the ball in an indoor soccer match at the St. Francis High Soccer Camp on Monday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Samantha Frias, 12, turns and dribbles the ball in an indoor…

LA CAÑADA — Its three-pronged formula for teaching the game of soccer certainly wasn’t new, but also wasn’t close to getting old in the St. Francis Summer Soccer Camp’s 24th year.

A group of about 45 campers tested their knowledge and skill not only on the soccer pitch, but in the classroom and gym at the weeklong clinic. It was hosted by director and Golden Knights Coach Glen Appels on St. Francis’ campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The approach was effective for the diverse group, which ranged from boys and girls 8 to 18 years old and from beginners to players on Appels’ varsity squad.

“We have guys here that are going to wind up playing college soccer and we have kids here — this is their first experience with soccer,” Appels said of the difference in levels of experience. “We try to tailor [the camp] to the individuals.”

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While the St. Francis Summer Soccer Camp has mostly stayed true to form over the past 24 years, one new thing Appels has implemented over the past four years is something not often seen at other high school camps. That’s the inclusion of coaches from other programs.

In addition to two assistant coaches on the St. Francis staff, Appels invited respective Crescenta Valley High boys’ and girls’ soccer coaches Grant Clark and Jorden Schulz to lead the younger group for the second year in a row. Pasadena Poly boys’ Coach Doug Jolly lent a helping hand to the older players for the first time.

Each day, the two groups — divided by age and level of play — took to Friedman Field to drill on a specific skill set for two hours. At 11 a.m., the groups split with one heading to the gym and another to the classroom.

“Up in the gym, it’s a lot faster pace so you have to work on your thinking ability, how fast you see the pass and then the quickness of your feet,” said Jason Carmody, a second-year camper and returning junior right back for the Golden Knights. “In the classroom, we look at old footage from games, go over it and fill out pieces of paper. It describes the game and it helps us learn.”

In class, campers were treated to a film session or history lesson on the beautiful game.

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