In its biggest turnout to date, about 55 girls attended the sixth annual Yucaipa High School soccer clinic Saturday morning at the football stadium.
“I am not sure what worked the best,” said Karen Brossia, a counselor at YHS who helped with registration and publicity for the Dec. 21 event, which doubled its attendance from previous years.
Designed to introduce girls ages 6 to 12 to the joys of the beautiful game, the three-hour clinic, which cost $20, was established by Coach Sarai Stamper, when she took over the YHS program and is led by varsity and junior varsity players, some of whom were once clinic participants themselves.
Instruction and fun are mixed together in drills for shooting, dribbling and passing, a tour of the locker room and a scrimmage at the end, all at three different age levels.
Among the first-time participants this year was Melody Echauregui, 6, the daughter of Angelica Echauregui, a counselor at YHS.
“We wanted to expose her to it,” Angelica said about introducing her daughter to soccer as she sat on the sidelines with husband Omar Echauregui.
“She’s liking it. She is really enjoying it and gaining confidence from the older girls’ encouragement,” Angelica said of Melody, who in between drills would stop to check in with mom and dad.
When asked if she was having fun, Melody shook her head yes and shyly smiled.
When asked what she liked most about her new sport of soccer, Melody said, “the dribbling,” but didn’t want to add more.
The intent of the clinic is to grow interest in soccer among young girls in the community.
“We want to keep the price low because we want to keep the clinic as a community service event first,” said Stamper, a YHS alum who recently became the first soccer player inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame.
She did admit, however, that because of the large turnout this year, some of the proceeds from the clinic would go to the YHS girls soccer program, which is currently in season. The junior varsity team is competing in the San Gorgonio Tournament over the winter break, with the next home game for both teams at 3 p.m. Jan. 3 against Beaumont High School.