The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 26, 2014

Soccer camp has its own World Cuo

'National' teams compete for title

RIVERSIDE — Silverlake Soccer Day Camp is celebrating its 10th year alongside this year’s World Cup.

Camp leader Chris Johns said he was inspired to start Silverlake by attending Danville’s Sunnybrook soccer camp while he was growing up.

“I wanted to continue that tradition,” he said.

Two camps are held each day this week at Riverside’s Ryan Field, a morning camp for children ages 5 through 8 and an afternoon camp for children ages 9 through 12. About 25 children were in each camp.

At the start of each camp, the children are divided into four teams and each is given a different nation to represent.

Some of the nations are picked at random, while a few come back by popular demand, Johns said.

“Kids always like to be England, Brazil, the U.S.,” he said.

This year, the teams were the U.S., Netherlands, Chile and Uganda. The team assignments usually turn into an impromptu geography lesson as some children try to figure out where their nation is located.

The camp is usually held the second or third week in June. A “World Cup” tournament is regularly held, even in years when the actual tournament doesn’t take place. Scores are tallied the same as they are in the World Cup, Johns said, with a final tournament taking place on Friday and medals handed out based on the team’s placement.

This year the World Cup tournament in Brazil has been on everyone’s mind.

“We’re able to have conversations with the kids (about the tournament),” Johns said. “Most kids can talk to you about the games that are going on and have watched them,” and players and coaching staff talk about it the next day.

Johns also likes to spice up the camp with different theme days, such as Wacky Wednesday, when kids wore everything from mismatched socks to a hamburger outfit. Today will be Jersey Day, when the players are encouraged to wear U.S. World Cup jerseys.

Silverlake is also a time for Johns to see campers from previous years, as several high school and college-age students who return to help coach the camp were former players of his.

“It’s great to see these kids grown up,” he said.

Some former campers also made sure to come back and help coach for Silverlake’s 10th anniversary, including Millville High School soccer players Madi, Maci and Morgan Bower.

“There’s generations of players who come through,” Johns said.

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