Soccer coach teaches love of the game

By Cathi Sasportas - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Thu., Aug. 8, 2013
Shannon, 9, goes after the ball during the Windsor Warriors Camp that was held at Northwest Park Aug. 5-8. Photos by Cathi Sasportas.
Shannon, 9, goes after the ball during the Windsor Warriors Camp that was held at Northwest Park Aug. 5-8. Photos by Cathi Sasportas.

Soccer is in his blood - that's what coach Pete Lepak says about the sport he coaches at Windsor High School. For one week this summer, he shared that innate love of the game with some of Windsor's younger players.

Lepak ran a soccer camp the week of Aug. 5-8 for 7- to 16-year-old boys and girls at Northwest Park, where participants could come for either a morning camp or an evening camp. The camp sessions were two and a half hours long each day.

This is the second year in which the coach has held the camp. He has been the coach at Windsor High for 10 years and said a summer camp was always something he wanted to do. "Last year I just said, ‘Let's do this,’" Lepak said. He used some of his star WHS players as the helpers for the camp, so they get to impart their soccer skills to the younger campers as well.

In a few years, Lepak will be sharing his soccer skills with his own son. The coach's first child, a boy, had been born just one week before the camp started.

Seeing the up and coming Windsor players is the biggest reason Lepak wanted to hold the camp. "I'm going to get these kids [at the high school] some day," he said. "The more comfortable they are with me, and my style of coaching, the more likely they will be to try out for my team some day."

Lepak has lived in Windsor since he was 4 years old, so his roots in town are deep. He said he remembers being eager to watch the high school players practice and play games, and thinking that he could not wait to be them. "It's great seeing my players give back to these younger kids,” he said. “They get so much out of it.”

Gary Amani Pershad, a captain on the high school team, is one of the players helping the coach during the camp. He said he helped the coach before and loved being a part of the camp. "I like playing with the kids and seeing the future of Windsor soccer," he said. "I want them to learn that the more effort you put in, the more you're going to get out."

Many of the parents who brought their children to the camp did so because they knew Lepak and were excited for their young soccer players to learn from him. "I love Pete," said parent Nicole Doyle. "Pete is a great coach. My nephew has played for him for years, and I just wanted [my son] to get ready for soccer season," she said. Doyle had brought her 11-year-old son, Logan, to the camp. She wanted him to come away with more refined skills and endurance.

Those were the types of skills Lepak wanted the campers to come away with as well. "I want them to have fun, but also to get comfortable with the ball at their feet," he said. "If they are comfortable dribbling, passing and shooting - the basics - they will be a lifelong soccer player."

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