Soccer camp a success

By Kevin Eckleberry

June 19, 2014

It’s going to be a new look when the Callaway High boys’ soccer team takes the field next spring.

The 2014 version of the Cavaliers that enjoyed such success was a senior-dominated squad, so there’ll be a lot of new starters on the field next season.

With that in mind, Callaway coach Jake Hembree thought this would be an ideal time to start a summer camp, exclusively for players on the team.

The four-day camp kicked off on Monday and wrapped up on Thursday.

Shane Pulliam, the former head soccer coach at Pikeville (Ky.) University, led the camp.

“We’ve had 21 guys. I didn’t open it to anybody else, just returning players,” Hembree said. “It’s been really, really good. It’s a good way to get to know the kids.”

Callaway is coming off an exceptional season.

Callaway finished tied for the top spot in Region 4-AAA with a 5-1 record, and it was hoping to claim the first playoff win in the history of the program.

That didn’t happen, but the Cavaliers still finished with an overall record of 12-6, with the seniors leading the way.

It wasn’t only the seniors who were responsible for the success.

Among the underclassmen, Kevin Craig had 20 goals, and sophomore Cameron Spinks had seven goals.

It was a strong senior class, though, led by Kyle Jenkins, who had a team-high 22 goals.

“We lost a lot of speed,” Hembree said. “We’ve had to rewrite a lot of our defense and offense, so that’s what we’ve been doing this summer.”

Hembree thought getting the players together for a week during the summer will be enormously beneficial.

“It’s an easy way to get good training,” Hembree said. “I wish I would have started this four years ago.”

The players did on-field training each day from 8:30 a.m. until noon, and after that they went inside for some film work.

One thing Hembree wanted to do was bring in a guest instructor, to let the players hear a different voice.

He asked Pulliam, who played soccer at LaGrange College, to help out.

“He’s a lot better coach than I am,” Hembree said. “I’ve learned more in three days than I have in five years of coaching just being around him.”

When the 2015 season rolls around, there will be a bunch of new starters, and the Cavaliers will be in a new-look region as well.

The Cavaliers will remain in Region 5-AAA, but the six-team region will have a different makeup.

“There are some new faces we’ll see on the field. A lot of people will get playing time that didn’t get that much. And we’re in a new region,” Hembree said. “There’s a lot of excitement about this season.