RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley women’s soccer team trained 40 girls ranging from nine to 18 years of age during a free youth clinic at the Brownsville Sports Park on Saturday.
“It’s brilliant. When I interviewed for this job, our administration talked about the whole Valley being our community. This is my first time in Brownsville, and I’m really impressed and excited to see so many young ladies here,” first-year head coach Mark Foster said. “I’ve enjoyed talking to some of the parents and even had some local coaches out, so it’s great. We feel very supported.”
The participants were split into three groups based on age and rotated through six stations, working for 12 minutes at each. They got tips and advice from the Vaqueros players at skills stations where they worked on dribbling and passing. They had the chance to try scoring on the Vaqueros at a shooting station and did other competitive drills like 1v1 and 2v2 and had a live-game station as well.
“I always want it to be fun. When we walk off the pitch today, I want every girl to say they had fun,” Foster said.
After the camp, the Vaqueros spent time signing autographs, taking pictures and talking with the participants. Foster hopes the young girls found people to look up to in his players, and he was proud to see the Vaqueros serving the community.
“Sometimes we can get caught up in seeing them as only players, so it was good to see our girls having so much fun and to see them serving,” Foster said. “We try to stress to the players that being a Division I student-athlete comes with responsibility and these younger girls are looking up to them. We’ve got a lot of girls on the team that are from the Valley and a couple from this area so hopefully they’ll see that and think, ‘That can be me someday.'”
UTRGV soccer will return to Brownsville next Saturday, Aug. 13, as the men’s team is playing an exhibition game against St. Mary’s at Brownsville Veterans Memorial High School at 6:30 pm Admission is free.
The Vaqueros women’s team opens its season at home against Texas A&M International on Aug. 19 at 6:30 pm at the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex in Edinburg. Admission is free to all UTRGV home soccer contests.
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