Darien youth soccer players participate in week-long NOGA summer camp
Darien youth soccer players got an opportunity to hone their soccer skills all week at Darien's Town Hall Field at the NOGA summer soccer camp.
The camp, which is for young soccer players from age 4 and up, is in its fifth or sixth year in Darien, according to camp director Chris Flaherty.
"NOGA has been around for about 30 years now, I believe, within the tri-state area," Flaherty said. "This is about the fifth or sixth year for Darien. We come in [to Darien] in the summer and we do one camp every summer for them and try to build a good following."
Even though many of the children are getting their first taste of soccer, Flaherty believes that the camp can go a long way in assisting with a player's development, as well as provide them with an opportunity to stay active.
"I think it's all about kids having a lot of fun and building the techniques of working with the ball and getting them outside and playing a little bit more," Flaherty said.
In addition to becoming better all-around soccer players, campers are also using the camp as an opportunity to make new friends and build camaraderie. Campers routinely cheered each other on, and even had some fun by booing some of the camp instructors after some encouragement from Flaherty.
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"It's been great. We've made lots of new friends," Logan Dehatre, 7, said. "I think this is helping me get better because I'm going to start soccer soon."
The week-long camp runs from 9 a.m.-noon daily and offers youth players a variety of drills, scrimmages and the ever-popular "coach's challenge," in which the campers take on the coaches in an event that tests a skill such as passing and shooting accuracy. As of Tuesday, the campers held a 2-0 lead in the daily "coach's challenge."
"The coach's challenge has been the best part," Hailey Shore, 9, said. "You get to challenge the coaches to see if you can make more points than them."
"We got to play in a lot of fun games and it was a lot of fun because we made a lot of new friends," Trip Bradbury, 7, said. "The coach's challenge is fun."
NOGA has several stops over the summer to towns which include Westport, Wilton, Fairfield and Stamford, but Flaherty acknowledged that Darien soccer players typically have a leg up, thanks in large part to participating in camps at such young ages.
"[The Darien kids] are always improving," Flaherty said. "When they get to the older ages -- like 9 or 10 -- the kids who have been with us since they were 5 or 6 have a lot more skill than some of the towns that don't have us working with them at that age group."