Kids at Los Gatos soccer camp glued to World Cup

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The World Cup hasn't just captured the attention of adults, but also kids who are watching and learning from their favorite players.

It's not just adults glued to television coverage of the World Cup. Kids are also watching. They have their favorite players and they're learning from them, too.

Summer is definitely soccer camp season. We visited one of 18 sites where World Cup Soccer Camp holds sessions. This year, about 15,000 kids are expected to attend; a reflection in soccer fever fueled by the World Cup.

The USA match against Belgium was all the kids could talk about at soccer camp. No doubt which team they wanted to win.

"I just like the USA," said 9-year-old Tessa Rodriguez. When asked if it's because they're the home team she answered, "Yeah, okay," with a shrug and a smile.

It had to be tough to be out there with no TV to watch, but the World Cup soccer camp coaches were keeping an eye on the game on their smartphones.

The high ratings for the World Cup reflect growth in interest and enthusiasm for soccer; a point USA Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann recognizes.

"You know, it's growing on every level," Klinsmann said. "And the locomotive of this development is always the national team. In every country that's that way. So we want to do well. We want to inspire them. We want to give them enthusiasm and belief."

And that trickles down to the Rodriguez family of Los Gatos. They're spending almost $600 a week for 7-year-old twins Katie and Nate and 9-year-old Tessa to attend this one-week camp.

Nate has been watching every World Cup match.

Nate: "That's one of the most important things I'm going to do this summer."
David: "Is that because you learn something from it, or you just love how they play?"
Nate: "I learn something from it each game."

Game action can be instructive, but one concern is over kids imitating headers and the potential risk of injuries, especially concussions. Coaches are well aware of that and try to work with young players on proper technique.

"If it's going to be standard headers with a regular ball, around 12 or 13 is the right age," said World Cup Soccer Camp Coach Tim Yordan. "But what we like to do is we'll use a balloon or a really light, one of those balls you can get from Walmart or Target that's extremely light, so you can practice the technique cause it's all about technique. When you're doing it correctly, then there's much less of a risk."
Related Topics:
sportsfifa world cupWorld CupFIFAsocceru.s. socceru.s. & worldtelevisionchildrenLos Gatos
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