Surprise, surprise: popular soccer camp is back | ParkRecord.com

Surprise, surprise: popular soccer camp is back

Christopher Kamrani, The Park Record

With the Park City Soccer Camp back in town, co-founder Randy Farris has — surprise, surprise — the world’s game on his mind.

But his focus isn’t solely on playing soccer-specific games such as gumball, cat-and-mouse and numbers with this week’s camp participants. Farris, who has been an integral part of growing the sport in this quiet mountain town since the mid-1970s, is ready to take his version of soccer to a global level in a few weeks.

For the fourth year in a row, Farris and his nonprofit organization, Here For Kids International, will be traveling to Peru and the Dominican Republic in July to put on soccer camps for underprivileged children.

"Essentially, it’s like bringing a little piece of the Park City Soccer Camp to kids that would never have an experience like that," Farris said. "The kids have an absolute blast."

Here For Kids International, which partners with Kids Alive International, is scheduled to travel to Lima, Peru, and Jarabacoa, D.R., in July with college athletes from around the country. In recent years, Farris and his group have taken Parkites Ryan Williams and Alexandra Phillips. Last year, Farris said, he took college students from Stanford, Santa Clara, University of California-Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego State and University of Utah.

A portion of the proceeds from the Park City Soccer Camp go toward Here For Kids International and helps Farris bring soccer to other parts of the world.

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While Here For Kids is ready to take center stage again on July 14, Farris is busy bringing that soccer-fun environment back to Park City. Having started the first camp of the 2012 summer season Monday, Farris and Williams, a former camper who is now co-directing the camp, have their hands full with more than 40 soccer players this week.

"There is nothing boring going on," Farris said. "(On Monday) everyone is put on to one of two different teams. They have a points competition for the whole week that includes drills and spelling bees during breaks. They love it. We give points for everything."

One of those drills is "cat-and-mouse," in which players try to run the length of the field while dodging soccer balls that are being fired by athletes at midfield. As the week of camp moves on, points for each side are accumulated and, typically, the winner is crowned on Friday, the last day of the five-day camp.

"They get totally into it," Farris added. "We just keep adding and adding and it tends to stay neck-and-neck as the week moves on. It’s fun, and it’s back and forth. I admit, there’s often disappointment the last day of camp when they might miss out on the win by three or four points."

The camps will continue June 25-29 and again July 9-12.

As for Farris, he said another year in Park City has just brought another surprise. He said a former camper from the 1980s, who is now a doctor in Arizona brought her daughter to camp.

"There’s just a whole bunch of loyalty," he said, laughing. "That’s pretty fun to see that multi-generational camper."

For more information on the Park City Soccer Camps, visit http://www.parkcityrecreation.org . For more information on Here For Kids International, visit http://www.hereforkids.org .