The Open Gate Church is kicking off its first summer soccer camp in August at City Centre Park.
The Anglican church wants to offer all kids a chance to play soccer this summer through a week-long soccer camp for just $25.
Already about 40 children have signed up and registration caps off at 75.
“We wanted kids to come experience a soccer camp without breaking the (banks) of families,” said Chris Zoephel, pastor of Open Gate Church. “We just want to get out in the community and be a blessing to the community with no strings attached.”
For Zoephel choosing to host a soccer camp was an easy choice.
“I love soccer,” said the pastor who played central defender for the North Park University soccer team in Chicago.
Zoephel, 39, started playing soccer year-round when he was five years old. He still plays the sport and has also been coaching his son Paul’s team.
For the Open Gate soccer camp, the church is also bringing in Zoephel’s former university roommate, Matt Pheneger, to help coach the kids. Pheneger works with the Christian group Ambassador in Sport, an organization run globally teaching soccer skills and Christian morals.
Other than learning the rules for the game and some technical skills on the field, the camp also touches on some Christian ideals that focus on character building.
“This is a church camp and the name of Jesus will be present, but soccer is the main component,” Zoephel said adding the camp is open to people of all faith’s.
The camp is offered to children six to 13 years old and runs from Aug. 14 to 18, Tuesday to Saturday.
On Saturday the camp will end with a barbecue and an awards ceremony.
Children are asked to bring lunches to the camps, but snacks will be provided.
For more information, on the camp or sign up for the camp go to Theopengate.ca and click on “events” and “soccer camp.”