In addition to the adult leagues available at Plaza Sports Center, playing at the university level is a possibility that older players should be aware of. There’s nothing like learning side by side with masters; recently, Plaza Sports Center invited some of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley men’s soccer team to host a one-day soccer clinic for Plaza’s Toros. Each group of 20-30 players spent an hour drilling with UTRGV Assistant Coach Lee Williams and Vaquero’s mid-fielder Rico Laitinen. Williams was impressed with the quality of the Plaza facilities, letting the players know that they are quite lucky to live in Plaza Students Inspired to Play at University Level an area that offers such fields to play on. More importantly, he told the children, it is a great boon to have UTRGV so close to home, where their soccer careers can continue to grow seamlessly. Compared to other major universities, UTRGV offers a high quality program that will allow them to continue to develop their game and earn a degree without breaking the bank. After the short motivational speech, Lee organized the Plaza players into various drills with different goals. He explained that he looks for complete players for his team. “It’s those little things that matter, like how you pass,” he told them as they reviewed their basics.
He hopes some of these young soccer players will want to play with the UTRGV Vaqueros when it comes time for them to choose a university. “There is a lot of talent here,” says Williams. “We just have to keep developing our skills.” “UTRGV Men’s Soccer is doing very well this season,” adds Laitinen. “Come to our games!” Laitinen aided Lee in organizing the young players and giving tips. He emphasized the importance of “soccer intelligence,” or spatial awareness on the field. Knowing what to do with the ball depends on knowing where constantly- moving teammates and opponents are. This is achieved by regularly looking around and checking over your shoulder. “Even the pros are sometimes bad about this,” says Laitinen. “Look at them the next time you watch a game on TV, and c ount how many times they check who’s around them.”
Plaza Sports Center is all about spreading enthusiasm for soccer to everyone. The center for athletic development offers beginner classes that provide the first exposure to playing for many children and adults, but their leagues and tournaments also provide a challenging and fun opportunity to more seasoned players. Siblings Christopher and Fryda Sanchez, Little Toros, attended the morning clinic and said they really liked it and want to keep playing soccer when they get older.
“We did some drills we already knew but he showed us some new things,” said Christopher. Like the young players who benefited from the soccer clinic, Caso is thankful that Lee and Laitinen spent the day at Plaza encouraging the young players. “You guys are certainly helping out the future of soccer in the RGV!”
Determined players can make college or university their next step after high school! Train at any age:
Plaza offers options for all players. Call
956.783.7670 to learn more!