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Boys from Brazil teach a lesson

July 25, 2000

Boys from Brazil teach a lesson



By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent


WILLIAMSPORT - Bob Smiles was all smiles when he learned that the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association camp would have a definite international flavor this year.

Smiles said he was "shocked" upon learning that four professional soccer coaches from San Paulo, Brazil would be running this week's camp, held at Williamsport High School.

"Most camps will have college or high school kids running the camps," Smiles said. "A lot of them are just fund raisers."

But the 56 participants in Brazil Camps 2000 are learning new skills - and refining existing skills - under the tutelage of Lucas Maniezo and Michel Mattar, both coaches at the University of San Paulo; and Audrio Magalhaes and Alessandro Fromer, high school and club coaches also from San Paulo.

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"We have four guys who are qualified to be college coaches (if they aren't already)," said Smiles. "They're in their 20s, and they're enthusiastic."

The students, ranging in age from nine to 18, are being taught the fundamentals, some of the intricacies of the game, as well as the Brazilian philosophy of the sport.

"The style they play here is different (than in Brazil)," said Maniezo. "There's a tactical difference. They play a 3-5-2 here and a 4-4-2 in Brazil. And if the children here watch a defender kicking the ball away all the time, they're going to do it, too, instead of trying to keep possession."

"Games are shown on TV all day every day in Brazil," added Magalhaes. "You can learn a lot of soccer just by watching it on TV."

The participants had a variety of reasons for attending the week-long camp.

"I'm just hoping to brush up on my skills for the upcoming season," said North Hagerstown senior Ellery Hanlin, who attended the last year's first camp. "I've gotten kind of rusty since last fall."

Williamsport's Brooke Weimer wants to learn more about controlling the ball.

"Ball handling is something you can use all the time, and throughout the game," said the Wildcats' senior. "If you can handle the ball, you're strong all around."

John Onikepe enjoyed the camp last year, and decided to return, also in hopes of refining his ball-handling skills.

"I want to learn how the dribble, pass and control the ball better," said the Waynesboro High School junior. "I need to learn to take my time, and not always go for the goal."

According to the coaches, that's exactly what they're trying to teach.

"We're putting a lot of emphasis on keeping possession of the ball," said Fromer, "and explaining why. You have to explain why."

"Here, they always play forward," added Mattar. "They haven't figured out that just because you go back doesn't mean you're only playing defense. You just try to find some space and move the ball back and forth."

All four coaches agreed that the students needed to focus on some skills more than others.

"Some of them have good passing (skills), some of them are good at receiving, most of them dribble pretty well, and they shoot pretty well," said Mattar.

"But in order to be a good player," added Fromer, "you must have all those skills down."

"A defender doesn't need to score as well as a striker," said Maniezo. "but he needs to know how, because sometime he will need to do it."

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