Dozens of Plymouth elementary school students are learning the basics of the world’s most popular sport through the efforts of the PSU men’s soccer team. The PSU Panthers are volunteering their time in offering skill-building clinics at the town’s elementary school.
PSU assistant coach Jeremy Gasowski runs the clinics, assisted by a handful of players.
“The guys coach individual technical skills and some team tactical stuff,” said PSU men’s soccer coach Robert Wright, who notes the kids have a great time getting tips from experienced collegiate players. However, the kids aren’t the only ones having fun.
“The guys have had a very enjoyable experience and the feedback from the school coach and players has been very positive,” Wright said.
PSU player Corey Cenate agrees, saying, “It’s a good feeling to see all the kid’s reaction to us coming and helping and doing the clinics. When I was in Middle school we never had high school or college players come in and do clinics, so it’s really cool to be able to give middle school kids the opportunity to practice with us, as we are seen as role models.”
For some of the PSU players, the clinics are a reminder of how they learned the game. Several are ‘home-grown’ talents who have taken the skills learned on the local playground to the next level.
“Three of our current or recent players are graduates of Plymouth Regional High School, two of whom came through the whole school system. They include team captains Bryan Biederman and Keith Whittemore, Sebastian Rodrigues, who used to play for PSU and is now a coach. Jesse Elderkin is one of my assistant coaches and is the Plymouth Regional High School boy’s soccer coach. We enjoy maintaining our links with the school and hopefully encouraging future local kids to follow in the footsteps of our current Plymouth guys,” said Coach Wright.
Coach Wright believes it’s a great connection with the community, saying, “Our program has very strong ties with the Plymouth School system, we get as much out of it as they do.”
“It was a good experience to work with the kids as they were eager to learn. Even if it was just the basics, they seemed to walk away with smiles on their faces,” says PSU’s Dustin Moya.