Area kids from first grade all the way to high school players packed Clover Dell Park this week for the Paul Klover Soccer Camp.
The annual camp brings in about 100 kids each summer.
“I think soccer has always been popular in Sedalia,” said Smith-Cotton High School girls soccer coach Adam Murray. “I think it’s continuing to grow.”
The group was separated into three age groups to give each player more specific instruction from the coaches, which come from area cities including Jefferson City, Columbia and Smithton. University of Missouri-Kansas City players also help out.
“You learn a lot and it’s a lot of fun,” said 16-year-old Smithton High School student Grace Frake. “The coaches are really nice.”
Frake said she’s been attending the camp for about four years.
“You feel like you have more one on one time,” she said.
During the four-day camp, players participate in various drills to work on different skills.
“We make sure we hit all the core fundamentals of the game and then we split them up where each age group gets those each day,” Murray said.
Several Smith-Cotton Junior High School students signed up, including 12-year-old students Jade Stevenson, Sabra Moon and Gracie Hofheins, and 14-year-old Colin Berger.
“It prepares me for high school and it gets you ready for the next season,” Stevenson said.
Moon said she likes that the camp teaches her skills for each position.
“Even if you are a midfielder or forward, they still teach you the basis in different positions,” she said.
The summer event also keeps players moving and practicing during the offseason.
“When you come out here it’s kind of a pre-start for building up all your muscles again,” Hofheins said.
Berger said he’s been coming to the camp for four years.
“Each time I come here I learn something new,” Berger said. “Every time I leave I end up better on the field.”
Defense is what Berger said he usually plays, but the camp has expanded his skill set.
“I played defense a lot when I was on a different team and specialized in that,” he said. “I come to this for more offensive training. Every time I get better at passing and shooting.”
Stevenson, Moon and Hofheins said they’ve attended the camp for three or four years. Murray said he enjoys seeing kids come each year and improve.
“I recognize a lot of these kids from camps past and they have put in a lot of work,” he said.