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Kickin' It Up

Democrat File Photo by Frank Rizzo

TAYLOR DIUGUID OF Eldred works with instructor Vince Velez at last summer’s All-American Soccer Academy in Monticello.

Soccer Academy
Set for Summer

By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO — June 28, 2002 – Summer is a good time for sports and leisure activities. It is also a good time for students to learn all about the sports they love.
To that end, the All-American Soccer Academy will take place from July 15 to July 19 at the Town of Thompson Park. The morning session will feature the Youth Academy, for players ages 8-11, and the afternoon session will be dedicated to the Senior Academy, for players ages 12-17.
“The staff and I always look forward to the camp,” remarked camp director Betsy Johnson Conaty. “We will be using some new methods. We want to challenge the players. We will encourage them, not intimidate them.”
Conaty, an Eldred Central School graduate and the Village of Monticello Parks and Recreation Director, has an extensive soccer background. She is a former national goal scoring record holder, former captain and member of three NCAA Division I women’s soccer national championship teams at the University of North Carolina, All-American Midfield MVP of the NCAA Tournament, UNC Rookie of the Year, UNC Gift of Fury, U.S. Olympic Festival Gold Medal, member of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) national champion Chapel Hill (North Carolina) KIXX, coach at the University of North Carolina Girls’ Camp, former staff coach at Rainbow Soccer Camp in Chapel Hill and the Middlestates Soccer Camp in Pennsylvania and a member of the Hudson Valley Hurricanes.
Conaty’s staff members also have extensive soccer backgrounds. The staff includes Danielle Austin (former Roscoe Central School standout who is currently playing for Ithaca College), Mike Benitez (former player at Virginia Wesleyan University; goalkeeper trainer/staff coach at North Carolina Girls’ Soccer Camp), Michael Hibbert (former player, England Junior League, staff coach at North Carolina Girls’ Soccer Camp), John Maranzana (former player at Elmira College, Monticello Central School boys’ varsity soccer coach, staff coach, North Carolina Girls Soccer Camp), Kevin O'Shea (former player at St. Bonaventure University, Monticello Central School boys’ varsity soccer coach), Peter Van Etten (former player at Ithaca College), Luis Velasco (former player at St. Bonaventure University, Monticello Middle School boys’ soccer coach), and Vinnie Velez (former player at the University of North Carolina, staff coach at North Carolina Girls’ Soccer Camp).
“The staff and I go over what is good and what is not good,” Conaty said. “It is a dynamic process. We’ll see if they have it by the fourth day.”
The players are taught skills needed to excel in the game of soccer. The students are taught about the attack, working the midfield, defense and goalkeeping. Skills learned at the camp help propel students through other levels of soccer.
“Once they understand the concept, they are able to incorporate their skills,” Conaty stated. “It is rewarding for me to hear from the parents how well the kids are doing.”
Conaty also noted that special guests come to the camp. Last year, Philadelphia Charge Player Rakkel Kvarlson visited the students at the camp. Conaty did not say who might visit this year, but the staff members are trying to get someone to visit and work with the players.
The camp starts on Monday, July 15 and Conaty is still accepting registrations. For more information, please call 292-1897.

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