HELENA — Saturday the field at Nelson Stadium will be home to a collection of the best soccer players the Treasure State has to offer for the Shodair Soccer Classic.
But Friday, the pitch was home to tomorrow’s all-stars.
The annual Kid’s Clinic, which is put on by Shodair Children’s Hospital and the Helena Youth Soccer Association, is an opportunity, not only for the players to help give back to the community, but hopefully pass on their love of the sport.
“It’s always something you want to continue when you have fun,” said Great Falls soccer player Logan Reiman. “I know when I first started playing soccer it wasn’t really the fundamentals, it was about having fun. And there is an age where you need to learn the fundamentals, but right now it’s just trying to enjoy the game.”
“It’s really awesome to be able to give back and use our soccer skills and kind of show them and lead them down the path to playing soccer, hopefully in the future,” added Helena Capital’s Ashley Carlson
That’s the plan for Helena’s Francesca Volpe, who is back at the camp for a third year.
“I I really like how there’s different stations and how you get to learn different stuff,” Francesca told us. “I’ve had some really good coaches in the past.”
She isn’t the only one that the camp has made a lasting impression on. Many of the now coaches remember their time as young players at this camp and are excited to see things come full circle.
“As a camper I really enjoyed, I’ve always been a shy kid so I really enjoyed being able to play soccer and kind of get out of my comfort zone and do something that I loved doing around different people that I am unfamiliar with,” added Carlson. “Then as a coach I love seeing all the little kids get super excited. Their eyes light up when they are playing World Cup or shoot on goal or they have an amazing goal. It’s just a great feeling that I love to share with other people, so it’s cool to see it here at camp.”
“It’s been fun, I mean, a lot of the kids are new to soccer,”said Reiman. “Which it totally fine, they are just having fun. Just running around mainly, just learning the basics.”
Nelson Stadium wasn’t the only classroom on the coaching tour today. Following that camp the player/coaches continued their lesson at Shodair Children’s Hospital. Where they held another instructional session with some of the kids and got the opportunity to see what their all-star game’s namesake does to help those who need them the most in Montana.
“I honestly feel like I’ve been blessed with such amazing coaches and teammates here in Helena,” said Carlson. “And to be able to continue it here, it means a lot to be able to give back to everybody that’s kind of been giving to me.”
It might be just a game, but to the kids playing in it and kids learning about it, this week it’s much more.
The women’s game will be at 3:00 Saturday and the men’s at 5:00 at Nelson Stadium in Helena. Tickets are $5.00 with all the proceeds going to Shodair to help provide care to families who might have trouble affording it. More information can be found here.