OCCC soccer camp children get ‘Energized’, learn from OKC team

Oklahoma City Community College’s Capitol Hill Center has partnered with the Oklahoma City Energy to keep metro children up and active this summer.

The Energy Assist Foundation teamed up with the Capital Hill’s College for Kids program to offer an eight-week soccer camp free of charge for local third through eighth grade students. 

Camp participants met for an hour a day, each weekday from the end of May through July 19th. Registration was free to the first 60 students who signed up with the camp. 

The foundation’s goal is to connect with the youth in potentially underserved communities to provide a safe avenue for exercise through soccer. 

On their website, the foundation said it believes “bringing the world’s most popular sport to underserved neighborhoods will help our youth become healthier and provide an outlet for positive activity.”

“The whole goal of the program is to get kids active, even if they never want to play soccer again,” Marina Rodriguez, Early College Awareness program specialist, said.

While the College for Kids Program has been ongoing each summer to provide an outlet to keep young students engaged in school over the summer, the soccer camp was a new edition to the offerings this year.

“This is the first time we have worked with [the Energy] for College for Kids,” Rodriguez said. “They gave us this grant money so we could provide soccer camp through College for Kids.”

The Energy Assist Foundation provided cleats and a uniform for all of the participants, as well as covering the cost of the necessary equipment to put on the camp.   

“[The Energy] provided all of the soccer balls, the nets, the cones, and gave the coaches a full day of training,” Rodriguez said. 

A one-day training session for the camp coaches was also provided by OKC Energy staff as a part of the grant for the program.

Rodriguez said she tries to hire as coaches for the camp local high school students who have played competitive soccer from the neighborhoods near the Capitol Hill Center.

By targeting local high school students who already play soccer to serve as coaches, Rodriguez said she hopes to secure coaches who are passionate about the game. Also, coaching with the program allows the local high school students to gain leadership experience over the summer. 

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