Over the past two weeks, more than 100 youngsters participated in the Portland Timbers and Dan Macaya soccer camps in Camas.
“The way this thing is growing, I might have to start running two camps,” Macaya said Thursday, after 140 6- to 14-year-olds attended his week long camp at the Prune Hill Sports Park. “The way soccer keeps growing in Camas, I think these camps are going to be here for a while.”
Especially if Macaya keeps getting help from high school and college level volunteers. This year’s ensemble included Camas High School graduates Sami Andrews, Jason Martschinske, Brittany Oljar, Nick Palodichuk, Drew White and CHS senior Olivia Lovell.
“This was my ninth camp, and it just keeps getting bigger and better,” Macaya said. “Every year, it becomes a big time community event. It’s just awesome.”
After playing soccer for four years at Concordia University in Portland, Andrews enjoyed coming back to Camas to reconnect with her friends and former teammates. She is also thrilled to see the sport she loves continuing to grow in her hometown.
“It’s really fun to be around the younger kids, and to feed off of their energy,” Andrews said. “It reminds me of when I was their age, and the older kids would come to these camps to teach me. I want to share my love for the game with them, and to encourage them to play soccer.”
Macaya and Palodichuk also helped at the Portland Timbers camp July 11 to 15, in the fields behind Doc Harris Stadium. The highlight of the final day was when “Team Macaya” and “Team Palodichuk” scrimmaged for bragging rights. The game ended in a tie.
“That was like a battle for the ages,” Palodichuk said. “I always want to come back to Camas, whenever I can. This community has helped me out so much, and the people here have been so supportive. I want to give back.”
The Timbers taught their TREES program to a total of 104 5- to 13-year-olds. TREES stands for teamwork, respect, effort, environment and sportsmanship. The campers focused on one of these five elements each day.
“The enthusiasm is here, and the kids work hard also,” said Timbers camp coordinator Maya Kholes-Chase. “We want to expand as much as possible. Camas is very receptive to soccer. It’s worth it to us to come over here.”