After torrential downpours forced the McDaniel Men’s Overnight Soccer Camp to spend most of Wednesday indoors, Thursday offered the first full day of sunshine.
The energy was lively among the 50 campers as they took part in afternoon drills at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium.
McDaniel men’s soccer coach Steve Corrieri’s voice was stern on the turf field as he directed players through complicated passing drills.
After providing just a few minutes of explanation, he let the group figure things out for themselves, an important learning experience in the eyes of the camp director.
“That’s where you find your leaders,” he said. “If a coach does all the talking and all the problem solving, then the kids don’t have a chance to be the leader. But right now if you just let them go and listen and watch, the leaders emerge.”
The camp — which runs through Friday — consists of middle school and high school participants ranging in age from 11 to 19.
Corrieri said the camp is unlike a typical youth camp. There’s a serious atmosphere present among the group, featuring day and overnight campers. Players hail both locally and from out of state, looking to develop their skills and eventually continue playing at the college level.
Campers are up at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and start the first of two tactical training sessions at 9. Following training, campers take part in conditioned games and night-time video analysis.
There’s little time for anything but soccer, a positive said Corrieri.
“We don’t have any downtime,” he said. “Sometimes downtime is not good from my perspective.”
Correri has run the camp for the past five years and was one of three collegiate coaches present. Along with him was Wilson College coach Caleb Davis and York College coach Evan Scheffey.
“The key to every camp is the coaching staff,” Corrieri said. “It’s not a youth camp where you’re having water gun fights and goofing around. If you’re serious about your soccer and want to get better, this is a good camp.”
Summer camps typically last an entire week from Monday-Friday but in a limited three-day window for Corrieri and his staff, there’s an increased focus on making sure each camper gets their money’s worth.
“The biggest challenge is … you want to make sure each kid gets the individual attention that they deserve,” he said. “It’s making sure you have relationships. I will take the coaches around each group so it’s not just one group with one coach.”
Corrieri spent part of the afternoon working with the Biglerville High School boys varsity soccer team, who made the 40-minute trek from Biglerville, Pennsylvania.
Lazaro Salazar, an incoming junior forward at Biglerville, said he’s really enjoyed his time so far at camp.
“With everything [Correri] has offered, telling us about the camp, how the training is going to be, it sounded amazing,” Salazar said. “He’s actually done what he told us he was going to do and he gave us the training he said he was going to give us.”
Salazar said he came into the camp looking to improve his team play and that the college coaching will help Biglerville for the upcoming fall season.