Solo shares soccer skills at keeper clinic

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United States women's national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo, right, shows Kess Nelson, 13, of Whitefish, the proper hand position to block a shot Sunday afternoon during a goalkeeper clinic put on by the Flathead Rapids Soccer Club.

Columbia Falls High School senior Kira Kamrud says she will pay for it tomorrow.

“I’m gonna be sore,” she admitted after attending the Hope Solo Goalkeeper Clinic Sunday afternoon at the Flathead Soccer Camp fields on Holt Stage Road.

“They worked us hard. It was the first time I trained outside since the fall season.”

Kamrud was one of 38 keepers who paid $50 for the two-hour clinic, which began at 3 p.m. Thirty-two players pre-registered and six more showed up the day of the event.

The clinic was for boys and girls ages 12-18.

“Today was a very good day,” Kamrud said.

“Very fun, super inspirational.”

Kamrud completed her prep soccer season last fall by helping the Wildkats advance to the Class A state championship match.

She was a two-year starter, earning all-conference honors twice. She was named all-state her senior year and voted the Wildkats’ MVP.

“A lot of the stuff I’ve heard before, but it was definitely cool hearing it from Hope,” Kamrud said.

“One of the things she said in the speech at (Columbia Falls) high school (Sunday at noon) was with penalty kicks, there isn’t a special way to practice or prepare for them. You just have to trust your instincts.”

Kamrud said Solo spoke for about 45 minutes at the high school. Solo answered a series of question from O’Brien Bryd of the Flathead Rapids Soccer Club and later from the audience.

“One of the quotes during the talk at the high school was that goalkeepers do not win games, they save games,” Kamrud said.

“I never really heard that before. I know goalkeepers make plays to help the game out, but it was really cool hearing that.”

At the clinic, Kamrud said “on breakaways, I learned protection so I don’t get kicked in the face.”

Kamrud said she heard Solo, the U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper, was coming to the Flathead Valley a month ago. When the Flathead Rapids Soccer Club posted her schedule and clinic on its website, “I signed up right away.

“It was definitely worth every penny, too,” she said.

Kamrud finished the clinic by having her picture taken with Solo and getting her keeper jersey and a picture autographed.

“The way they split everybody up (for the clinic), it was still hands-on,” Kamrud said.

“You definitely got a lot out of it.”

Flathead Rapids players helped with the instruction. The keepers broke off into three groups to practice with Solo moving back and forth between them.

Kamrud will be playing with the U18 Flathead Rapids this spring. In the fall, she will play soccer at Corban University, a NAIA school in Salem, Ore. She will be on an academic and athletic scholarships and plans to major in health science.

“I’m very excited about college,” she said.

“Four months until I leave.”

Sam Benkelman, a freshman at Whitefish High School, was one of the few boys participating.

The 15-year-old keeper has been playing soccer for six years. He was a starter on the WHS JV squad in the fall and made the varsity roster for one playoff game en route to the Bulldogs claiming the Class A state championship.

“I think it was very worth it, extremely worth it in terms of cost,” he said. “Two hours, if you put that in perspective with something like a music lesson or a voice lesson. It was a great experience ... well worth it.”

Benkelman said Solo also gave him a personal pointer.

“She noticed on my hand position when I’m getting ready to make a save, I had my palms down,” he said

“She advised me to bring my hands up and face my palms upwards. For the rest of the training, that was something I had to consciously think about. I had been doing it the other way. It’s valuable ... something I will do from now on.”

The clinic was the third and final part of Solo’s fundraising session for the Rapids. It began Friday evening in Whitefish at the Great Northern Bar with a welcome party and live auction.

“Unbelievable,” Bryd, who coordinated the events, said.

“It was like putting on three weddings in one weekend. Three separate events. We (Rapids) pulled it off.”

United States women's national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo, right, shows Sarah Schroeder, 14, of Kalispell, how to stop a shot on the ground Sunday afternoon during a goalkeeper clinic put on by the Flathead Rapids Soccer Club. 

 

United States women's national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo talks Sunday afternoon during a goalkeeper clinic put on by the Flathead Rapids Soccer Club. 

 

United States women's national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo, center, watches Sarah Schroeder, left, and Jordan Griffith run drills Sunday afternoon during a goalkeeper clinic put on by the Flathead Rapids Soccer Club. 

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