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World-wide clinic helps spread soccer in West Point

July 29, 2011

Dozens of West Point kids laced up their soccer cleats and strapped up their shin pads Friday morning to learn the world's most popular game.

Kids ranging from ages 4-18 participated in the roughly two-hour coaching clinic, hosted by world renown Coerver (Co-Ver) Coaching, at the old fair grounds by the central office for Parks and Recreation. Broken up into groups, the players were taught basic dribbling and controlling skills.

Organizer and president of the West Point Soccer Organization, Thomas Easterling said he was very happy with the turnout despite a little rain in the area.

"They were well coached today," he said. "As hot and sweaty as the kids got, they had so much fun. They were all smiles from ear to ear. I got nothing but good feedback."

Dave Dresbach, a former Division-1 collegiate and professional soccer player, oversees the five man operation that works year-round across the southeast in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida.

"We try and teach the unique skill moves," he explained. "And from there, we try and incorporate a whole progression of logical learning for kids. We look at the psychology of the kids and what they're capable of doing physically."

Right now Dresbach says, there are about 72 different skill sets with soccer, and the game itself is growing. Coerver was started 27 years by Wiel(pronounced Will) Coerver, a Dutch soccer coach who wanted to find out what made world class players so different and successful from other players.

"Soccer is no different from basketball or football, in that your creating time and space so you can do something, so you can execute," Dresbach said.

Soon after other coaches caught on and decided to find these skills and teach them to younger players. Their efforts have expanded to 36 countries across the globe.

"We've mapped progressions," Dresbach said. "And the system has shown over the years that when we shown them a skill, then execute that skill and we use it in no pressure, limited pressure and high pressure, the retention on it is almost 100 percent."

That makes it a little different than just watching a video and then trying to get the player to understand exactly what to do. But Dresbach says that they encourage kids to watch soccer and understand the game for themselves while at the same time, learning and utilizing those same skills the professionals use on the field.

Unlike Europe, where kids flock to soccer academies to learn how to play, the size of the United States makes it harder for players to really get involved. That's why Coerver travels all over to spread the wealth of knowledge they have attained with coaches that at some level were professional players or top-level collegiate players.

Easterling said that Coerver has the techniques that can make West Point soccer players better down the road and hopes this is a jump start to new era of the sport here in the community.

"The kids that came are going to be better players when the fall season rolls around and I hope that some would want to play in the spring as well."

WPSO will follow up in September with the Mississippi Soccer Association to offer free coaches and referees clinics.

For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation department at 494-3214.

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