Because of a teaching opportunity offered to Greg Basgall at a military base in Japan, the family left Lawrence to take up residence on the other side of the world. Despite the move, the Basgall's still want their son to be involved in sports. The family feels good about the fact their son can go to camps in the summer when he comes back to the United States to visit.
"Our son came to this camp last summer, and they were really good with the kids," Greg said. "It's a really good camp, and he seemed to enjoy it. He came back with improvement on his basic skills. He plays soccer on the military base, but they use a parent to coach who is not always knowledgeable about the sport. So it's nice that he can come here and pick up a few skills to take back home."
That's just what Alec Basgall likes too.
"I wanted to come back so I could learn more about soccer for the season in Japan," he said.
Fun and learning are the two aspects camp director Mauro Nobre wanted every participant to experience when the week-long camp was over.
"I hope the kids say, 'Wow, that was fun. I learned a lot,'" Nobre, now in his 20th year of coaching, said. "I don't want them to necessarily regurgitate all the coaching points, but make the points habit for them. I also want them to analyze certain situations and recognize certain common situations and find the best solution."
This particular camp was different than other soccer camps because it wasn't necessarily about particular positions or learning how to shoot.
"It's about movement and learning how to play anywhere on the field," assistant director Andrew Pirotte said. "It's what you see the pros doing, being able to play every position."
Nobre said other camps were like a buffet because they touched on everything, every skill.
"This (camp) is a little more focused," he said. "It's about possession and beating your defenders. But always having a purpose to go to the goal."
The KVSA Advanced Skills camp is open to all ages, but also deals with more advanced players.
"They all have a wide range of abilities, so we set the standards high," Nobre said. "A lot of them are coming from recreational leagues and may have developed some bad habits. So they need repetition and focus to change those."
The camp puts together three-on-three games to help the participants with the repetition. These games were played every morning at the end of the session. On the camp's final day, the participants played in a three-on-three tournament to conclude the camp. Aside from getting to play the game, the tournaments and scrimmages helped the kids get to know one another.
Alec's mother, Stacey, likes this aspect because it is a way for Alec to meet kids around town. The Danny Manning basketball camp, held in late July, is another event his parents like to hit before they head back. Which Alec is participating in.
Strangely enough, neither soccer nor basketball are Alec's favorite sports that he plays. He also plays flag football and baseball at the military base. Alec claims football and golf are his favorites. But parents Greg and Stacey on the other hand, laugh and say whatever season is going on, that's his favorite sport.
For now, the skills Alec and the rest of the participants have practiced at the Advanced Skills camp should take them far. And far for the Basgall's is back home to Japan, where Alec will get to show off some of those skills on the military base where he likes to play. But as he plays on the bases, he still finds something is missing, and it isn't soccer.
"It (playing on the base) is mostly fun," Alec Basgall said. "But you don't get to meet very many Japanese people."