• 59°

Kicking it with the Optimist Club

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
Washington High School soccer coach Jimmy Kozuch knows how important it is to have a good feeder program in the community.
Powerhouse soccer programs like Jacksonville, White Oak and New Bern have maintained success throughout the decades because of strong area youth leagues.
So this week, the Long island native is spending his days teaching his annual high school soccer camp, and his evenings directing the Washington Optimist Club’s youth soccer camp.
For the past 12 years, the Optimist Club has held the camp as a fundraiser for the Pam Pack program, and according to Kozuch, the Optimist Club’s camp provides some much needed funding to his program.
The Optimist Club’s motto is “Friend of Youth,” and its goal is to give back to the youngsters in the community. While many Optimist Clubs worldwide tend to support a variety of different sports. The Optimist Club in Washington has focused most of its efforts on soccer. Besides running the area youth league and camps, the club also gives away several scholarships to graduating seniors.
This week, nearly 50 kids, ranging in age from 4 to 13, signed up for the week long soccer camp. Kozuch and a group of Washington High School soccer players instruct at the camp, teaching everything from dribbling, to passing, to shooting.
The Optimist Club donates anywhere from $2,200 to $3000 annually to the Pam Pack soccer program through their annual soccer camp fund raiser.
Kozuch believes the camp is a win-win situation for both parties.