Local youths hone their football skills at Maine Sports Training Academy’s Football Camp

10 months ago

LITTLETON, Maine – Learning the fundamentals of football are a crucial element in experiencing success on the gridiron.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians recently partnered with the newly-formed Maine Sports Training Academy to bring those football fundamentals to area children. Youths between grades 3-12 from throughout Aroostook County were able to attend a summer football clinic in Houlton July 21-22.

The Maine Sports Training Academy Football Camp was held at the Maliseet Sports Complex in Houlton Friday, July 21, for youths entering grades 3-8 and Saturday, July 22, for those entering grades 9-12. Former NFL and U-Maine defensive back Daren Stone led the camp which also featured three college football players from Husson University – Caleb Solomon, Noah Reynolds and Damon Reynolds – who graduated from Houlton High School. In addition coaches who have coached at the high school and collegiate level.

“The reason behind starting the Maine Sports Training Academy here in Houlton is we realized our kids don’t have anywhere to go for skills development,” explained Jon Solomon, former varsity football coach for Houlton High School. “Before this Academy, kids had to travel anywhere from two to four hours south to receive any type of fundamental training.”

The Maine Sports Training Academy, based in Houlton, offers services to individuals and teams to help improve fundamentals, techniques while improving wellness through mind, body and soul. In addition to football skills, the camp also featured a segment on financial literacy, mental health and nutrition.

“Our camps are more than just learning about skills they need to excel in their sport,” Solomon said. “It is also about teaching them important life skills that will help them succeed.”

Robertino Ridley, co-founder of Maine Sports Training Academy, moved to the Houlton area two years ago. During that time, he saw youths gathering to play sports but they had little knowledge of the basic fundamentals needed to succeed.

“There is really zero chances for development for kids,” Ridley said. “Our idea is to provide a service to the community, by helping young children develop their skills. There is no reason we can’t have D-1 (Division 1) scholarships coming out of this town. But they need to have development earlier. By the time they get to high school it is too late.”

“We hope the kids have fun, pick up a little bit of skills, and pique their interest (in football),” Solomon added.