Busy summer awaits PR soccer coach

LEROY — Eric Gebhard has gone right from track to soccer.

The veteran Pine River coach recently ended the boys track season. With soccer for the boys coming up this fall, Gebhard conducted a three-day youth camp at Pine River, which ended on Wednesday.

The camp was designed for youngsters up to the middle school level with ages ranging from 4 to 12. The camp started on Monday and lasted 90 minutes each morning with around 20 to 25 kids attending every day.

“We did all the fundamentals, drilling and passing,” Gebhard said. “We did a lot of games that involved throws so children could stay more interested in what they were doing instead of just doing the drill. It was successful. We had 4 year olds that were still with us an hour and a half into it.

“We did one similar to this one last year too,” Gebhard said. “We were blessed to get good weather and it works out we can have it every day.”

The camp was conducted at the Pine River soccer field located west of the football practice field.

“A lot of them did have (soccer) backgrounds,” Gebhard said. “You could tell they were playing on organized teams. A few even wore their jerseys from their team. Down to 4 years old, obviously they haven’t had much of a background so we had to be ready for their skill level.”

The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) has remained active in the Pine River area, Gebhard noted.

Meanwhile, Gebhard will be having team play at his soccer field every Tuesday at 5 p.m. “We’ll be doing some drills but we’ll be opening it up for pickup soccer,” he said. “It depends on the numbers. It will be informal. If we have four people we’ll play two-on-two. If there’s 15 to 16 people, we’ll play full field. We’ll do this up until the season gets ready to start (in early august). We have the dead period around the Fourth of July.”

McBain is hosting a six-week 6-on-6 soccer league that Pine River will be participating in on Wednesdays.