In its eighth year, the annual Darkness Soccer Camp now hosts children of all ages and from all over North Carolina. The camp, created by head men’s soccer coach Brad Spell,has now blossomed into an anticipated event for summer athletes.
“The idea for this camp here just came to me though I had been wanting to do a fundraiser for awhile,” said Spell. “One day I was out here cutting grass looking at the field and wondering what I could with it. Being a thinking man I thought this up and thankfully it been growing strong ever since.”
The camp itself has been running all week starting bright and early at 8:30 a.m. at Clinton High. Kids participating in the camp range from K-9. The younger athletes ran varies soccer drills in stations while some of the older kids got more one on one training. Not to mention they all got to compete with one another in multiple scrimmages and even ran some indoor soccer matches in the gym.
When the camp first started Spell said he had only about 60 kids come to camp. Now in year eight, he has over 100 aspiring soccer players looking to get better, some coming all the way from Raleigh.
This camp is heavily influenced by giving back, proof of that is the 25 staff members their this year to help out. Equally impressive as the number of the staff is the fact that they were all junior, seniors and assistant coaches from the soccer teams at Clinton.
Aside from Spell, assistant coaches Adam Smith and Kenan Lanier were part of the staff. Along with players such as Britt Thornton, Olivia Williford, Jacob Bauman and single season goals scored record holder, Ivan Ponce, were there just to name a few. Each with the goal in mind to give back to the community. Also, to help raise funds to improve the soccer facilities and help along potential future Horses soccer players.
All theses positive things mean a lot to the parents and children in this community and it’s extra special to one staff member.
“Being part of this camp is something very special to me,” said Lanier. “I’m from Clinton and played for coach Spell before going off to college. Then to come back here and be apart of this program again as an assistant coach and to help make this camp successful is really special and means a lot. It’s all about being able to give back to the same program and place that helped build my love for soccer.”
The camp is wrapping up with only one day left Friday, perhaps the most exciting day for camper to come. With promises of pizza and a free T-shirt to look forward to, campers have put a day to complete the camp and receive their well deserved rewards.
Reach Michael Hardison at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.