Wizards woo for sixth straight year
If soccer enthusiasts at Chieftain Park last Thursday and Friday followed the United States in the World Cup, they probably preferred the hours last week in Tonganoxie.
The KC Wizards/Kansas City Community College Soccer Clinic did, after all, start at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. United States World Cup games in Korea and Japan usually started at 6 a.m. if not earlier.
But then again, the weather in the morning's wee hours is more favorable.
Either way, 75 youth ages 5-18 braved the July heat temperatures reportedly hit 107 degrees Thursday and participated in the sixth annual clinic spearheaded by former Wizards player Mo Johnston.
"I think it went pretty well, all things considered with the heat and everything," said Ben Cramer, Tonganoxie Recreation Commission assistant director.
Johnston and select current Wizards players, along with KCKCC coach Gerald McGonagle and some of his players, instructed the clinic goers in various aspects of soccer.
Youth ages 5-10 made up most of the participation, while campers from Tonganoxie amounted to about half of the turnout. Cramer said last year's clinic saw about 2/3 of the campers from out of town.
The camp, in its sixth year in Tonganoxie, impressed Cramer, who had never been part of a soccer clinic.
"I think those guys did a good job with the kids," Cramer said. "I thought they handled it pretty well."
Campers could opt for one-night or two-night instruction, and they received T-shirts after the camp. Posters were distributed as well, and the instructors had a drawing for two free Wizards tickets. Players also signed autographs.
Cramer looks for the Wizards and Blue Devils to come back for another year in 2003.
"We're going to try to get them to come back," Cramer said.