Professional players teach KMC youths soccer

Christine June
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***Soccer stars sparked interest in the game by teaching fundamentals to more than 100 KMC youths Aug. 3 at the Cage Field on Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Monica Gonzalez, a Boston Breakers’ defensive left back, and Judah Cooks, who spent four years with Washington D.C. United as a defender, were here courtesy of the 2005 Installation Management Activity-Europe Morale, Welfare and Recreation Youth Summer Shoot Out program.

“This is the inaugural year for the soccer tour,” said Cooks, who now coaches soccer at the Dematha High School in Washington, D.C. “It’s been an incredible situation for me to bring soccer and hopefully, a little bit of my knowledge and fun to these kids on Army bases.”

Cooks and Gonzalez taught youths, ages 5 to 17, soccer fundamentals such as dribbling, passing and shooting in a two-hour Soccer Skills Shoot Out clinic.

“I’m just trying to learn how to better move with the ball and take possession, stuff like that,” said Matt Grippo, 11, who has played soccer for six years and just moved here a month ago. “This clinic is nice especially since I just moved here, and I don’t know a lot of people so I get to meet new kids and learn new stuff.”

The 10-day Soccer Shoot Out tour traveled to seven Army posts in Italy and Germany before heading to the states Sunday.

The clinic also benefited the 415th Base Support Battalion’s Landstuhl Youth Services.

“We start our fall soccer season in a couple of weeks,” said Anthony J. Broccoli, 415th BSB youth sports director. “And, this clinic is a good chance for the kids to come out and meet major league players and pick up some extra tips and little drills in time for our season.

“In fact, I have about eight volunteer soccer coaches out here today who are also learning and getting ready for the fall season,” said Broccoli.

Landstuhl Youth Program’s soccer season starts Sept. 12 with registration starting in the last week in August.

For more information, call Landstuhl Youth Sports Office at 486-8375 or 06371-86-8375.