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Turf field helps Centre soccer camp

07/14/2010
Mike Marsee, amnews.com

A little rain never hurt anybody, and it certainly didn’t hurt the Centre College boys soccer camp.

The final day of the area’s largest annual sports camp was a mostly wet one, but Tuesday wasn’t a washout for the participating players and teams.

Plans were changed and schedules were re-drawn, which is nothing new for the 21-year-old camp and its staff. And Centre’s new artificial turf field made it easier for everyone to adapt to a rainy day.

“We’re going to be able to play out the tournament, and that was really important to me,” Centre men’s coach and camp director Jeb Burch said. “I want the kids to play.”

It may not have been the way they want to play, but they were playing nonetheless. The grass fields around campus were closed Tuesday morning, as they typically are when it rains during the camp, but the games went on two at a time on the Farris Stadium field, where eight-on-eight games were played on shortened fields that went from sideline to sideline.

A team of Danville and Marion County players competed in one of the first of those games, playing through the rain against a team from Ballard.

“I don’t like them, because we have too many people sitting out,” Danville junior Karl Hempel said. “Soccer camp is the one time when guys who don’t play as much during the regular season get to play more, and right now they don’t get to play.”

But Hempel said there’s also an upside to playing on a smaller field.

“It’s fun because you get a lot more shots off,” he said.

Another Danville player, junior Nate Johnson said it’s also fun because the players are doing what they most want to do.

“We’re paying for the camp, and we don’t want to waste time sitting around,” Johnson said.

“We’d much rather be playing,” Hempel added. “The lectures here are important, but camp’s about getting ready for the season and getting to touch the ball a lot.”

Inside a Sutcliffe Center gymnasium, Boyle County players were waiting their turn to do just that. Their game had been pushed back to the afternoon, and they had a chance to rest tired legs while they waited on a demonstration session.

“I like it, but I’d rather be playing out there,” Boyle senior Tom Porter said.

Time on the turf is important for Boyle, which plans to play its home games this season on the new artificial surface being installed at Rebel Stadium and is getting accustomed to playing on turf by playing at the Centre camp and by practicing on Centre’s field later this month.

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