Des Moines Menace gets local youth out for soccer camp

Sean Cordy - Sports
Isaiah Godoy chases down a ball during warm-up drill July 16. PHOTO BY SEAN CORDY/THE PERRY CHIEF

Soccer in Perry didn’t end with the high school season. After over half a dozen camps in the greater Dallas County area throughout the first half of summer, the Des Moines Menace came to town for a soccer camp for July 15-18 presented by Tyson.

While the bulk of the Menace camps have come with a registration fee, the camp held at Perkins Park was provided free, bringing out kids and players that may normally not attend specialized camps.

Incoming Perry eighth-grader Jose Vargas said it was the first camp he had attended over the summer. He added that through the first half of camp that focused on dribbling and other basics, it’s been “meeting new people” that he’s enjoyed the most.

The camp is divided into three age groups from 3-14 years old.

Not only did campers get the chance to meet new people, but were being coached by a wide background of talent.

On Wednesday, Menace forward Nazeem Bartman and midfielder Francisco Greco were on hand to coach players. Bartman comes from South Africa and played college soccer at Tyler Junior College — where former Jayette Natalie Martinez will play next season — and the University of South Florida. Greco hails from Buenos Aires and before joining the Menace, played at Barry University in Miami.

Bartman said that while teaching young players, the biggest thing to focus on is to improve their focus on the “technical things” and that they need to “play with the ball as much as they can and just get comfortable with it.”

Above improving dribbling or shooting skills that were held Wednesday, both Bartman and Greco agreed that the most important thing to remember is to keep it enjoyable.

“The most important thing is to have fun,” Greco said. “In every drill and exercise we do, we try to enjoy with the kids and to have fun with it.”