Libby Cruickshank works on her sets.

Dragons bringing plenty of talent despite rebuilding year

After foregoing boys soccer at Cameron High School in 2018 due to lack of available players, the Dragons will return to the pitch in 2019 with a built from the ground up approach. 

Before assuming the reigns of the boys and girls programs at CHS, Coach Jason Welch assisted running the Cameron Dragons Soccer Club youth program, where he first met many of the incoming 2019 players.

“We will see the fruits of our labors through this group from our club,” Welch said. “We have about seven or eight kids moving up from the U-15 group into the high school.”

Welch enters his 17th year of coaching, but his first at the high school level. He began working with the local YMCA, coaching from 2002 to 2006 before founding the Cameron Dragons Soccer Club. With many of the incoming Dragons being players he coached since they were children, Welch said he feels excited to see them take their skills to the next level. 

“It’s fun. You see plateaus they’ll hit, then expand out and reach that next level of play. It’s really fun watching them grow,” Welch said.

Last week, the Dragons were among more than 40 participants of the Cameron Soccer Club Camp, featuring players from the Kansas City Comets Who provided professional guidance throughout the multiple-day session. With many playings playing soccer year round, Welch said he likes to take the summer to heal from the rigorous demands of the sport.

“We start here with the camp, then just head into the fall,” Welch said. “The summer is a break because soccer is a pretty heavy sport as far as running and play. Some go into a summer league and play indoor soccer. I give them that time off just to refresh. It gives the parents a break as well.”

With CHS not fielding a boys team in 2018, the program seems to be in a rebuilding phase. However, having coached them as children, Welch feels the Dragons will be competitive in 2019.

“It’s going to be a fun season. We had a jamboree in Chillicothe last Friday and to my surprise we have a really good core. About a third of the kids are new to soccer and a third of them are coming up from the club and the other third hasn’t played in a year and a half. But the thing about soccer is that it’s a team sport. We may have some really kids, but it’s how we work as a team.”

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