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Rain doesn’t slow down campers

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – A little rain wasn’t going to dampen their enthusiasm.

On Thursday morning, a light rain storm moved through the area, but the young players at the Jeff Geeter Soccer Camp, along with the instructors, didn’t let the wet stuff slow them down.

The camp kicked off on Monday and concluded on Friday, and even though it was a damp week in the area, the action continued uninterrupted for each of the days.

“We were skittish the last two days we were tracking it,” said Geeter, the long-time soccer coach at LaGrange College who is now the school’s strength and conditioning coordinator. “I was more worried about lightning. But we managed to pull it off.”

Geeter has been pulling the camp off for nearly three decades now.

When Geeter took over as the head coach of the LaGrange College men’s and women’s programs in 1990, he began a youth soccer camp.

This was the 27th consecutive year Geeter offered the camp, and it was one of the largest turnouts.

There were 103 campers, which made this only the third time the camp eclipsed the century mark.

Geeter was helped out by a staff that included LaGrange College women’s coach Fred Wagenaar, LaGrange College men’s assistant coach Ryan Dickson, Callaway boys’ coach Mike Petite, as well as a number of college and high-school students.

That group of students included Qua Tucker, who will be a junior on the LaGrange College soccer team this fall.

Also helping out is former LaGrange Academy soccer standout Sydney Allen, who now plays at Oglethorpe University, as well as current Callaway Cavaliers Grayson Lambert and Ian Bryan.

“This thing functions because of them,” Geeter said of the instructors. “I know I can give them an outline, and I know they’re going to do great stuff with the kids.”

Geeter said he lets the college and high-school students work with the youngest campers.

“The younger ones, they’re a little more rambunctious,” Geeter said. “The college-age kids do a real good job with them, and the kids respond to them.”

While there was plenty of teaching going on over the course of the five days, Wagenaar said he and the instructors made sure to not “forget the fun part.”

“I really hope they’re enjoying themselves, and coming into their own,” he added. “So it’s good. I really enjoy doing that, and helping out.”

Geeter coached at Tennessee Wesleyan for four years until he came to LaGrange College, and this has been his home since.

Geeter coached one or both of the LaGrange College soccer teams for 24 years. In 2014, Matthew Evans took over the men’s program, ending Geeter’s tenure as a soccer coach at LaGrange College.

He has continued with the camp, though, and it is closing in on 30 years.

“You stop some times and think, has it been that long?,” Jeter said. “I feel certain that the kids of campers from years ago are here this week.”