Swift movement key in playing soccer
By KENT MINCER
Maybe Alex Mattevi should consider trying to land a spot on Dancing with the Stars. By his account, being a college soccer player gives him some insight.
“That’s all soccer is, it’s dancing,” the Mesa State College men’s soccer player told some of his younger charges on Saturday.
Mattevi, along with his Maverick teammates, were joined by the Mesa State women’s team at Canyon View Park for the second annual Grand Junction Soccer Club Soccerpalooza.
The event, originally scheduled for Long Family Memorial Park, was moved to Canyon
View to accommodate preparations for President Barack Obama’s visit Saturday afternoon to nearby Central High School.
Soccerpalooza has become a kickoff event to the fall club season. The day included a 5K memorial run in honor of former Grand Junction Soccer Club player Wes Bretey and clinics for the club’s youth coaches. The club’s competitive teams had scrimmages during the day.
The Mesa State men’s and women’s teams put on a 1-1/2-hour clinic in the morning for Grand Junction Soccer Club youth players ages 4 through 10.
Mattevi, working with one of the older groups, was attempting to stress the importance of ball control and footwork during one of his demonstrations.
“It’s rhythm,” he said, equating foot movement with balance and ball control.
While helping hone skills, the day was more about having the youths experience the joy of soccer.
“Our interest is to get the kids out,” said Andy Varns, the director of coaching for the U4 through U8 Grand Valley youth club and also an assistant Mesa State women’s coach.
Having a hand in both the youth and college program, Varns saw Saturday’s Soccerpalooza as a benefit to both.
“It’s good for the kids to meet the Mesa State players and see role models,” Varns said.
Rachelle Ormond, a junior on the Mesa State women’s team, saw other positives from the day.
In addition to giving the college players a break from preseason practice, “It’s fun to get out and interact with the kids,” she said.
For her, it’s good experience, since she plans to become a coach.
“This is what I want to do when I get out (of college),” she said.
Rather than doing monotonous drills, the Mesa State players tried to make the day fun for the youngsters.
There were games of tag, 1-on-1 kicking, soccer dodge ball, even games of Red Light/Green Light — with soccer as the central theme.
“All the games incorporate the moves, the skills,” Varns said.
More than anything, Varns hoped the college players were able to convey the fun of the game.
“I want them to say I enjoy coming to soccer practice,” Varns said.