News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Buckhorn Soccer Academy Celebrates its 10th Year

  • Dozens of young soccer players are turning out at Wallenpaupack Area for the annual camp.
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  • The sounds of sneakers squeaking on the gym floor mingle with the frequent dull thud of a youngster’s foot kicking a soccer ball.
    Six-year-olds clad in an array of colored pinnies, separated into four little groups ramble about the hardwood pitted against each other in small scrimmages.
    With each group is a high school student or member of the coaching staff, teaching skills and managing, as best as they can, the crop of 1st graders in their charge.
    The kids probably don’t realize it, but the clinic they are attending had it start before any of them were born.
    For the past decade, Wallenpaupack Area boys soccer Coach Scott Bonagura, with the help of his wife and fellow coach M’liss, as well as many other players, coaches, and volunteers have put together this annual five-week-long skill-building camp.
    Over the years, this event has grown steadily and helped develop many of the current players on the high school teams’ rosters.
    One of our main goals is to maximize the amount of touches the kids have on the ball,” Bonagura pointed out.
    At the youngest levels we try to teach technique and footwork, as much as we can, and then it’s up to the kids to practice at home.”
    For the kindergarteners and first graders, it’s all about the basic fundamentals.
    While some have played U-6 youth soccer, for a good many of them, the Buckhorn Soccer Academy is the first time they’ve had any exposure to organized soccer.
    The hour-long sessions are broken into two parts.
    The first being a half-an-hour of fundamentals and skill building which is then followed by a 30-minute session of scrimmages.
    Page 2 of 3 - Through the scrimmage section, the groups regularly rotate every few minutes thus giving each little squad exposure to different players.
    Giving Back
    Each of the groups has an individual mentor.
    Some adult coaches, such as Lady Bucks assistant Katie Schkolenko and Girls junior high Coach Amber Supko Karavsky lend a hand with the instruction, the bulk of the coaching is done by varsity players.
    Two seniors who have been sharing their skills for the past three years are Joe Budnovitch and Thomas McLain and returning for a second year is freshman Sheila Whitman.
    Brittney Bonagura and Melanie Mosianak, managers for the Buckhorn boys, also pitch in as are Matt Vosburg, Hunter Nakielny, and Olivia Brodhead.
    While the high schoolers do get service hour credits for the time they put in to the program, admittedly they all enjoy giving back, especially because it is a sport that they all play.
    The little kids always get excited to see the high school kids,” Bonagura continued. “They might see them at the supermarket or someplace and they always say to their parents, ‘There’s my coach!”
    The high school players get, I hope, a deeper understanding of what we as coaches do as well,” he added.
    In most cases what Bonagura hopes to develop on the high school players comes to fruition.
    McLain and Budnovitch not only have the hard skills to be playmakers on the pitch, but they have the soft skills needed to inspire and lead their teammates.
    Never Too Late
    The clinic costs $25 per student and everyone gets a T-shirt for attending.
    Page 3 of 3 - While the numbers are a little less this year than in years past, it’s only the first week, and Bonagura always knows that the kids will go tell their friends and a few more will sign up.
    Even if they only come for a week or two, kids can always sign up.
    Each week is different.
    They work on new skills and get broken up into different teams so every week is unique.
    For more information or to sign-up, please feel free to contact Mr. Bonagura at the North Intermediate School.
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