A team of Danville and Marion County players competed in one of the first of those games, playing through the rain against a team from Ballard.
“I don’t like them, because we have too many people sitting out,” Danville junior Karl Hempel said. “Soccer camp is the one time when guys who don’t play as much during the regular season get to play more, and right now they don’t get to play.”
But Hempel said there’s also an upside to playing on a smaller field.
“It’s fun because you get a lot more shots off,” he said.
Another Danville player, junior Nate Johnson said it’s also fun because the players are doing what they most want to do.
“We’re paying for the camp, and we don’t want to waste time sitting around,” Johnson said.
“We’d much rather be playing,” Hempel added. “The lectures here are important, but camp’s about getting ready for the season and getting to touch the ball a lot.”
Inside a Sutcliffe Center gymnasium, Boyle County players were waiting their turn to do just that. Their game had been pushed back to the afternoon, and they had a chance to rest tired legs while they waited on a demonstration session.
“I like it, but I’d rather be playing out there,” Boyle senior Tom Porter said.
Time on the turf is important for Boyle, which plans to play its home games this season on the new artificial surface being installed at Rebel Stadium and is getting accustomed to playing on turf by playing at the Centre camp and by practicing on Centre’s field later this month.
“It makes the game faster, and it brings out more technical skills,” Boyle senior Matt Cruttenden said.
Danville’s players were discovering that as well.
“It speeds the game up, and it’s a lot of fun,” Johnson said.
Players didn’t get the chance to play in the mud, as high school boys in any outdoor sport seem to love to do, but they did get to keep playing.
“It’s always fun to play in the rain,” Cruttenden said.
Burch said there were 22 games scheduled for the last day of the team competition, and he said they would all be played.
“It’s important for the kids,” he said.
There are other important aspects to the camp, such as lectures on nutrition and fitness that are saved for the last day unless they are needed to fill a rainy day earlier in the schedule.
“We’ve got a rain plan in place,” said Burch, who is in his ninth year as camp director.
Still, he said the rain soaked some of his plans for the camp’s grand finale Tuesday night.
“Today was going to be an awesome day. We were going to have free pizza and free drinks for everyone, parents included. We were hoping to have 500 to 600 people (for the final game),” he said.
At least the games went on.
“It’s better than sitting around waiting for something to happen,” Porter said.