SWFL United kicks off camps with Naples'
Juergen Sommer speaking
NAPLES — Former United States National Team goalkeeper and
part-time Naples resident Juergen Sommer spent part of his spring break on
Tuesday talking about what he loves most: soccer.
To a group of players gathered at Barron Collier, set to participate in this
season's SWFL United Soccer Academy, Sommer discussed what is expected of
them to make the most of their soccer careers. A number of the players in
attendance come from Academy directors Ray and Dwight Morgan's area high
school programs -- the Barron Collier girls and Golden Gate boys teams.
"It's important to hear him talk about progression and having him help here
is good experience," said Brett Wiesen, a freshman keeper for Barron
Collier. "I played on the academy team against a U-18 team and it helps to
play against some of the bigger players and teaches you not to be afraid."
The academy's senior session will run from April 13 (boys) and 14 (girls)
until Aug. 5 and 6. The academy's junior session picks up on May 11 and also
finishes on Aug. 6.
Sommer, 40, is an assistant with the Indiana University soccer team that he
walked on to when he played on the team in 1987, started his next four
seasons for the Hoosiers. Sommer, who played in the Optimist soccer program
in Naples growing up, played with the United States during its World Cup
appearances in 1994 and 1998, and spent several years overseas playing for
several premier clubs in England. He also played in Major League Soccer with
the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution.
After having played with Ray Morgan when the two were younger, he was happy
to help with the local academy, now in its third season.
"I'm really here to give the kids some perspective," Sommer said. "I want to
let them know what people are looking for out there and this is an area
where you get a taste of how the different cultures are improving soccer
"The plan here is to help out the future of the sport, the direction of the
game. ... I'm on a board with U.S. Soccer that decides where certain youth
grants go, and I think this is a club that is doing good things here."
SWFL United's senior academies go on to play in the U.S. Club Soccer
national showcase tournament in Jacksonville each season. Dwight Morgan is
hoping that this season's crop of players will be one of the teams everyone
is talking about since he is going with a group that has spent a few
offseasons playing with each other.
"Now we should have guys two seasons into it that have grown and jelled a
little bit together, and that should bring us some more success," he said.
"Really what we are trying to do is give some help to the local clubs here
and curb the travel that some kids are doing to play club soccer on the
other coast or in the Tampa area."
Registration is still open and more information is available on
swflunitedsoccer.com and costs $250 for the senior academy, $175 for the