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Ex-semipro starts summer academy

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 31, 2002

INVERNESS -- Jeff Scurlock attended numerous soccer camps -- first as a child, then as a coach and parent.

INVERNESS -- Jeff Scurlock attended numerous soccer camps -- first as a child, then as a coach and parent.

"There's always been a piece missing," Scurlock said.

Not any more, he hopes.

The 46-year-old Scurlock, a former semiprofessional and first-division amateur with 25 years of youth coaching experience, thinks he has a training program for players that fills in the gaps.

His creation is the Summer Soccer Academy, a three-month program for players 8-and-older that begins next week and focuses on personalized coaching over an extended period. The academy will consist of once-a-week practices (with no more than six children in a group), video assessments, home assignments for participants and weekly progress reports.

Scurlock will run the camp alone.

"What makes this unique is the individualized attention," Scurlock said. "That's why I'm sticking to small groups. Second, is the video component. Also, at a weekly camp, they have fun, but the numbers are 20:1 (campers per counselor). You go for a week and you're done.

"The hope with this is that it keeps them connected and keeps the soccer ball at their feet throughout the summer."

Each participant receives a packet and is asked to sign an agreement that states he or she will dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes two nights a week to home assignments.

"One kid may need to work on conditioning, so I'll have them run," Scurlock said. "Another kid may say, "I want to improve my left foot,' so I'll give them activities to improve the off foot."

The academy ends in August, just prior to the start of the area's fall youth leagues.

"It's a good transition," Scurlock said.

The program costs $120 per participant. Practices are Monday or Tuesday nights from 6-7:30 at Holden Park in Inverness.

For information, call 860-2654.

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