Janessa Torres eyed a soccer ball on the ground a few feet in front of her. She took a couple of calculated steps and gave the ball a swift kick.
“Oops, too hard!” Janessa said as the ball sailed wide of her intended target.
Torres, who is 9-going-on-10, was doing one of the many drills at the Moriarty Pintos summer soccer camp, held last week at Edgewood Middle School.
In the drill Torres was doing, she and about 10 other girls her age took turns kicking a soccer ball at another soccer ball that was sitting on a small cone about 15 feet away. The goal was to knock the other ball off the cone.
“Sometimes when you kick too hard it doesn’t go where you want it to go,” Torres said.
Roughly 60 kids, ranging in age from about 3 to 13, participated in the free, two-day soccer camp. It was the largest turnout for the annual camp, according to Moriarty boys soccer head coach Jordan Allcorn, who’s been orchestrating the event for more than 10 years.
“I can’t remember having more than maybe 40,” Allcorn said. “We’ve been doing it for free, to build some excitement around soccer and the community and give kids something to do in the middle of July.”
The campers were put into different groups based on their ages. With the help of Allcorn’s players, each group spent about 15 minutes at different “stations” on the middle school football field working on various drills.
Though the fundamentals of soccer—proper footwork and ball control, passing and shooting—were the focus of the camp, having a good time was also a big part of the game plan.
“This is a lot of fun, I really like it,” said 9-year-old Reagan Allred.
Even Moriarty’s players got a kick out of teaching the kids what they know.
“It’s pretty entertaining, watching the little ones,” said Moriarty senior James Bentley.
Allcorn said the goal of the camp isn’t necessarily to be an intense challenge or to make expert soccer players, but “to create positivity.”
“It’s community building, you know, it’s about seeing that soccer can be fun, and being around other kids,” Allcorn said.
Janessa Torres agreed.
“I like soccer cuz it’s fun,” she said. “Whenever I get a chance to do soccer, I do it.”