New BHS soccer regime
Matt McCune has officially taken over the reigns of his alma mater's soccer program and so far he's a success.
Baldwin High School's new soccer coach has only spent five days with the majority of his players, but most everyone enjoyed the time spent together.
"The camp went great," McCune said. "We had a lot of kids out and it wasn't too hot. It was a good time."
The BHS alumnus held his first summer camp as coach of the Bulldogs. He was named coach after Gus Wegner resigned after leading the program for its inaugural three years.
A total of 38 players attended the weeklong camp last week. They came twice a day for all five days. Senior Tracie Weege didn't seem to be bothered by the amount of work she put in all week.
"It was a lot of fun and it wasn't just conditioning," Weege said. "It went really fast. He (McCune) changed things up a lot, which made it go faster. He made it a lot of fun for us."
One of McCune's primary goals for the camp was to have fun and enjoy playing the game with teammates. He tried to emphasize that all week to the players.
The biggest enjoyment the campers had was scrimmaging at the end of each day. The camp ended each day with World Cup style games that was called the Super Duper Mega Cup.
The players were divided up into teams and they competed against each other. The standings were based on a point system, which was similar to the World Cup.
"We ended each day with scrimmages," McCune said. "The winners got Gatorade at the end of the week. Every summer camp I've been been a part of has always had scrimmages, so we had to."
Weege thought highly of the daily scrimmages.
"We had competitions every now and then during the camp," she said. "The best part was the Super Duper Mega Cup. It was fun to compete and it's good to see where everyone is at and what we have coming up from the younger kids."
One of those younger players was freshman Louis Joslyn. He was one of 17 freshmen that attended the summer camp. His first BHS team camp was a success in his mind.
"The camp was a lot of fun," Joslyn said. "We did lots of sets of drills and at the end we would do 30-minute scrimmages. So, we got a lot of touches on the ball all week."
While fun and laughter was one of the primary goals for the camp, like most, the coach also wanted the players to develop their skills. That was the other main goal - individual improvement.
"We wanted to get their interest level going and make sure they didn't have any down time, so we kept them busy," McCune said. "We wanted everyone to get comfortable with the ball at their feet, but we also did some shooting, too."
Most of the drills that the Bulldogs worked on dealt with individual ball handling. Some others helped improve their passing and receiving talents.
"We worked a lot on ball handling and ball skills," Joslyn said. "It's something that everybody needs to work on. It's always nice to have great ball handling skills."
While freshmen represented the largest number of any class at camp, the seniors were the second largest. Around 12 or 13 BHS seniors came out for the camp. For many of the seniors, the fundamentals can be more of a review of their skills.
For some like Weege, last week was the first time they have played soccer since the season ended last October.
"We got a lot of touches on the ball and we did the normal fundamentals," Weege said. "For a lot of us, it's been since last season since we've played. Some of the freshmen have been playing during the summer. They impressed me and they are good."
The interaction between the incoming freshmen and the returners was something that McCune watched all week. He saw both sides impressed with the other.
"Some of the younger players have more ball handling skills, but some of the older players are bigger, stronger and faster," he said. "You could tell when they were on the field together that they were a little intimidated by each other."
Joslyn wasn't too intimidated by the upperclassmen, but instead he enjoyed the competition.
"They kind of showed us where to be on the field," Joslyn said. "It was fun to play up against the upperclassmen. You just have to work hard, get in there and move some bodies around."
McCune's final goal was to learn the players and get an idea of what the team might be like in the fall.
"I also wanted to put a name with each face and see what they can do," McCune said. "I wanted to show them that they can work hard and have fun in a matter of two hours.
"The season should be a lot of fun," he added. "I don't know what expectations are right now and I'm not too worried about that. I'm more concerned with coaching the game right way. If I do that and they try hard, winning will come naturally and success will follow."