The annual week-long Shore Soccer Camp was held last week at the Historic Onancock School from July 26 to July 30. The camp was for ages pre-K through eighth grade and was divided into multiple skill stations that focused on specific tactics of the sport, including dribbling, passing and receiving, shooting, and goalkeeping.
Paul Nolz, Nandua soccer coach and camp organizer, said that the golden age of education in sports is ages 6 to 12. “At that age, kids’ minds are very open and they aren’t very self-conscious,” he said.
After reviewing skills and tactics, players get the chance to scrimmage with each other. “I try not to over coach because I want the game to teach them,” Nolz said. “Experience is the best teacher.”
Each day concluded with a prize giveaway. Prizes were given out based on performance and the chosen word of the day. For example, on Wednesday, July 28, a hot and sweaty morning, the word of the day was attitude. The assistant coaches chose a player from each skill station who they thought displayed the best attitude on the field. The chosen ones were called over to a table where a variety of prizes ranging from soccer balls to Gatorade and athletic socks were available for them to choose from.
Nolz, a Granby High School graduate, didn’t have the opportunity to play soccer in high school. “Granby didn’t have a soccer program,” he said. “The only opportunity I had to play soccer was during gym class.”
It wasn’t until after he moved to the Eastern Shore that Nolz began to fully immerse himself in the soccer world. He started the first Shore Soccer Camp in 1986 with six players. That same year, he also began coaching a Little League team.
“We lost every single game except one,” Nolz said. “But over time I progressed as a coach. In 1992, high school soccer was introduced at Nandua and due to my past success I got the call to coach the program.”
Nolz would eventually lead Nandua to two championships, one in 2003 and another this past season. Both teams featured players who had participated in Shore Soccer Camp in their youth.
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