UC Merced coaches young soccer players as part of summer camp

Vince Ybarra Image
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
UC Merced coaches young soccer players during summer camp
Molding future soccer stars.

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Molding future soccer stars.

"I've learned how to Control the ball," said one soccer player.

"You can use your inside of your foot the outside of your foot or the laces," said another young kid.

A hundred kids ranging from 4 to 12-years-old gathered at a UC Merced on Tuesday.

They're taking part in a four-day camp that gives a jump start on reaching future goals as young athletes.

"Look at all the smiles around here and becomes infectious and I think 1 kid having a good time leads to two more kids coming out and wanting to have a good time," said UC Merced Soccer Coach Albert Martins.

It's a full circle moment for one UC Merced student.

"I used to be one of the players playing here, yeah, with Coach Albert," said Alondra Higareda.

She is from Merced and went to the summer soccer camp when she was a little girl.

She said she was inspired to work her way up to the university level, playing for the Bobcats.

"You guys having a lot of fun? You guys ready to go back out there and work hard again?" asked Higareda.

Not only is she coaching the kids during at this summer camp, but she also is involved in her community, reading, and mentoring elementary school students.

For the parents helping the little ones stay hydrated, they say connecting their kids with role models while learning new skills is a "win - win."

"When you're a kid and you see college student athletes, they're like an idol, and you just hold them to such a high standard," said one mother.

Martins said the camp has been such a success, they will host another group of young soccer players in July.

Click here to sign up for the next camp.

For news updates, follow Vince Ybarra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.