Roughrider Soccer Teaches Kids Basics of The Sport

15 August 2017  
Roughrider soccer returning sophomore Johnny Ramirez watches as a child at the free clinic has fun dribbling the ball at Mountain View Park in Prescott Valley on Saturday, August 12th, 2017 All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
Roughrider Soccer to Host Another Free Clinic on Saturday, August 19th, at Ken Lindley Field In Prescott

PRESCOTT VALLEY- Since Yavapai College Roughrider soccer Head Coach Mike Pantalione started the team twenty-nine years ago, it has been a staple of Prescott sports. Throughout those twenty-nine years, Pantalione has hosted a free clinic for children in the area to learn the basics of the sport due to his positive experiences with youth soccer as a child.

“The reason why I’m still in the sport is how much fun I had as a youth myself and how enjoyable the coaches made it when I was in grade school,” said Pantalione. “Youth soccer has always been special to me.”

Pantalione and the Roughrider soccer team continued the tradition Saturday, August 12th, at Mountain Valley Park in Prescott Valley. Hundreds of boys and girls from ages five to sixteen participated in seven different rotating stations.

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Children learned shooting, passing, dribbling, heading, ball control, goal keeping and defending. Each station had Roughrider soccer players teaching the participants as the thirteen Roughrider soccer returners and twelve newcomers got a chance to interact with the community before the season starts.

“It’s always something fun for us to do,”said Roughrider soccer returning sophomore Johnny Ramirez. “We get to mingle with all the community and get to know some of the kids who attend our games.”

The interaction with members of the community, either at games or free clinics, is big for Pantalione; mentioning the Roughriders have one of the best home attendance numbers and support of any junior college program in the country.

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“A relationship has been established over the years,” Pantalione said. “As a result, they know the players personally, they come to our matches…our Roughrider soccer players recognize that and they acknowledge that by thanking the crowd after the final whistle of each game.”

Meanwhile, the players use this opportunity to pass on their skills to the hopeful young players who look to be in their shoes someday.

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“It’s always good to give back to the community,” Ramirez said. “The kids who look up to us, for us to at least give something back to them, help them when they get to where we are.”

The Roughrider soccer team will host another free clinic Saturday, August 19th, at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott. The clinic runs from 9am to 10:30am and participants are asked to bring their own ball.


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