By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley High School Girls Soccer program held a three day training camp for all Pirate athletes interested in the sport last week. Despite lower numbers than the record year before, the event proved to be a success for the team.
This year, the team was able to learn from a visiting athlete who traveled down to teach the team some techniques learned at the sport’s higher levels. Amanda Wenzel, who travelled from Grand Junction, Colorado, was one of two college soccer players to help the participants out in the camp. Wenzel has played soccer at Colorado Mesa University.
Another appearance from a coach who specializes in goalkeeping made for an intimate experience in developing both younger players and returning athletes.
The camp consisted of three sessions a day: one in the morning, afternoon, and evening. In an effort to avoid the Nevada summer heat, the team practiced indoors during the morning and afternoon sessions. The girls ran through drills inside the gym.
With the exception of occasional running, the camp focused on technique development rather than conditioning.
“I’m not looking to get them in shape at this time,” said MVHS Girls Soccer head coach Lisa Cornwall. “This camp is always a good eye-opener because it puts things in perspective as for where they need to be. So I think that part is good for them. But it’s not about conditioning.”
Cornwall summarized her expectations for the camp, adding, “What we’re working on is basic skills and hopefully techniques they can pull from it like shooting, crossing, or passing.”
The presence of Wenzel, who happens to be a relative of Coach Cornwall, certainly helped point the younger players in the right direction. Cornwall explained what the college athletes hoped to get across to the camp’s attendees.
“Their message was that you have to learn what you’re supposed to be doing right,” Cornwall said. “For example, all the girls know how to pass but it doesn’t do any good when you get in the situation and aren’t able to do it how you’re supposed to. It’s about not just knowing the technique but knowing how to utilize it.”
The camp saw numbers hovering around 25 athletes. They would be split into a younger and older group, but often the two groups had opportunities to learn from one another as well.
“I think the younger players love being around the older ones,” Cornwall said. “I can understand how sometimes being around younger players can be a frustrating thing but I think my girls truly understand this is their future. It’s important they’re a good example because these are who will be replacing them. We need those younger girls to feed our program.”
With new athletes and returning ones alike, this annual camp serves as the start of the offseason for many of Moapa Valley’s players. Looking to make another deep playoff run, the offseason is crucial for the Pirates.
“A few of our returning players were out of town,” Cornwall said. “So what we were seeing is really just a skeleton of the team. But it was still so encouraging. It makes us all really excited.”