In the next few weeks, soccer coaches and players will be reunited on playing fields across Steamboat Springs.
With that in mind, the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Association invited Brian Crookham, the assistant technical director for the Colorado State Youth Soccer Association, to come to Steamboat Springs for coaching and player clinics this week.
"The reasons to come to Steamboat Springs were two-fold," Crookham said. "First we wanted to educate some of the coaches and introduce them to some new ideas. But we also wanted to work with some of the competitive soccer players in Steamboat Springs and see where they are at."
Rob Bohlmann, the Steam-boat Springs Youth Soccer Association's director of coaching, said he usually holds coaches clinics this time of year.
With the Steamboat association's parents meetings scheduled for Wednesday (for parents with players in the U-6 and U-8 groups) and Thursday (for parents with players in the older U-11 and U-13 groups) the clinics couldn't have been timed better.
"We will map out the season from A through Z at the meetings," Bohlmann said.
Bohlmann is hoping that Crookham's clinics, which were held Wednesday and Thursday, will help new coaches enter the season with a running start. Recreational teams are scheduled to begin practice the week of May 16.
"I've done the clinics myself the past few seasons, but this is much bigger and better. It's a great opportunity for the association and a great learning tool for our local coaches," Bohlmann said. "We got a highly trained coach here to basically hold a one-day clinic."
Crookham said the clinics are a chance to get out of his office in Denver and work with coaches and players from across the state. It also helps the state association maintain the high coaching standards that Crookham hopes will become a trademark for every association he visits.
By working with coaches, Crookham thinks the state association can spread its message and standards more efficiently.
"If I work with 15 coaches, then I've reached 150 kids," Crookham said.
In most cases, Crookham said he is just reinforcing what an association already is doing right. But it is also an opportunity to give new coaches the basic talents they need to reach their players and give veteran coaches a fresh perspective.
Crookham said the level of coaching varies widely across the state, especially at the younger age divisions. Still, most of the coaches are parents who may or may not have a soccer background.
He said the ultimate goal is to get all the coaches at the same level and for the players to have a good experience no matter what level they play at or what their goals may be.