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Young players get their kicks in at camp

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – The summer heat hasn’t slowed them down, or dampened their enthusiasm.

The LaGrange Girls Soccer Camp is being held this week at the Troup County Soccer Complex, and nearly 50 young players are participating.

They’re on the field for three hours each day, and even though the camp is held in the morning, there is no avoiding the scorching July sun.

Still, the campers have been all smiles during the camp that continues through Friday.

This is the second year the camp has been held, and as the name indicates, it is strictly for girls.

The instructors include LaGrange High coaches Andy Fritchley and Colin Ross, as well as members of the team.

Fritchley said the idea was to give the girls a chance to learn the sport in a comfortable environment, and he felt it was important for the campers to be around the high-school players who have accomplished so much in the sport.

“There are lot of opportunities for boys. And this is a sport that can be very impactful for little girls, too,” Fritchley said. “This is a lot about leadership and character development, too, with our players. So that’s a big part of it. It’s just for girls, showing them these are what tough girls look like, this is what we have to do to be a skill player.”

Theree were 25 girls participating in the camp last summer, and that number has increased by 20 this year.

“What was really cool for me, when we talked about doing the camp, I don’t think they really knew what we were trying to do,” Fritchley said. “Year 2, they were so excited. They couldn’t wait to get out there.”

Fritchley said there a lot of returning campers.

“It was great to see a lot of girls come back,” Fritchley said. “They had a lot of special memories.”

One of the LaGrange players serving as an instructor is Caroline Thompson, who had an exceptional freshman season in helping lead the Lady Grangers to a region championship and a berth in the state quarterfinals.

“It’s really fun. I’ve been excited,” Thompson said. “I saw pictures of it last year, and it’s been awesome. The water games we end with are a lot of fun. It’s fun to meet all these little girls.”

Fritchley said the idea is to make the week as enjoyable as possible for the campers.

“That’s the formula that works, just love on these little girls that come to the camp,” Fritchley said. “Soccer is almost secondary. First is just building a relationship, and just having loads of fun, and staying cool as much as possible.”

Fritchley added that while having fun is a primary focus of the camp, there has been plenty of teaching going on as well.

“It’s very productive,” he said. “We get a lot of work done, too.”

OF NOTE: For more photos, check out facebook.com/LDNSports