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From July 28 to Aug. 1, the Chicago Storm held an Evanston-based soccer camp at Chute Middle School. The camp accommodated all levels of play. The weeklong camp was divided into six categories based on skill level and age.

The mini-kickers camp was ideal for beginners aged 4-6 who wanted to learn the basics of soccer in an entertaining environment. The half-day camp was designed for recreational and intermediate players aged 7-17 to enhance their technical and tactical skills. Full-day camps were divided into two sessions. The morning session taught technical skills, such as dribbling, passing, receiving and shooting the ball. The afternoon session focused on tactical and team strategies. Striker camps provided campers with the skills and goal-scoring instincts to be successful in front of the goal through repetition and small scrimmages that focused on shooting and scoring. Keeper camps offered the opportunity to develop the necessary techniques and confidence to succeed as a goalkeeper. The striker and keeper camps ran in conjunction with one another and included kids aged 7-17. The team camp focused on team concepts such as fitness, attacking the goal, defending the goal, tactics, set plays and more.

“I love coaching and seeing the kids develop. I get more out of [the camps] by seeing them develop as players and people,” said Jeff Richey, Evanston resident and goalkeeper for the Storm.

Richey has coached the Chicago Storm camps for three years. He said he had previously coached a lot of the kids who attended camp this summer. A total of 40 local kids took part in the camp.

Richey noted that some participants brought their friends along to play and develop their soccer skills further. “It is nice because the kids are playing with their friends. Most of them know each other so there was not really a phase where they had to get to know each other because about half of the kids have played in other camps together.”

Each participant received a soccer ball, camp T-shirt, certificate of participation and a ticket to a Chicago Storm match in the upcoming 2008-09 season.

“Playing with the younger kids, they looked up to me and I was like their leader [is what I enjoyed the most from the camp],” said second year camper Michael Dennison. “[In the camp] I have learned a few new tricks with the ball and how to kick the ball much better.”

The camp concluded on Aug. 1 with an awards ceremony following the final session.