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Chastain focusing on the details

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

Brandi Chastain is realistic and knows that her playing days at the highest level are coming close to an end.

So Chastain knows that a logical option to stay close to the game she loves is through coaching. Chastain, who has won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cups with the United States women’s soccer team, has said she’s interested in coaching at the national level.

And Chastain could be laying the groundwork for a potential coaching spot at the elite level someday this week at her soccer camp at Edmonds Park. Chastain, along with her brother Chad, and Tina Estrada, who just completed her soccer career at Santa Clara University, are conducting camps each day through Friday at the South Reno Sports Complex and Edmonds.

About 45 youths ” mostly girls but some boys ” are participating in the camp at Edmonds.

“It’s a comfortable number,” Brandi Chastain said. While Chastain said she would obviously love to work with as many players as possible, she said the number of the players at this week’s camp will allow for a “personal connection with kids. We have a lot of options to play games.”

A major reason for why the Chastains come to Northern Nevada is they have a chance to spend time with family. On the first day of the camp on Tuesday, Chastain said she and her brother had spent a great deal of time with their grandparents, Roger and Hazel Chastain, who live in Carson City, and their aunt, Judy Jackson, who is a Carson City employee.

“I think it’s becoming more and more apparent as I get further and further away from playing,” said Chastain about coaching possibly being in her future. “How can I help players to get better.”

Chastain was working to make players better at her camp on Tuesday and her attention to details stood out right down to how to deal with the heavy wind that was blowing on Tuesday. Chastain said she learned to stand with her back to the wind to yell out instructions, “otherwise it’s brutal.”

Within the first half hour of the camp, she had already given two water breaks. There were a few girls who weren’t going to take the second water break, but Chastain instructed them to take the water break even if they felt they didn’t need it.

Chastain said she wanted all those at the camp to be focused on all the details, which is harder to do when players are dehydrated and tired.

“Three hours is a long time,” said Chastain, commenting on the length of the camp each day. “I don’t even remember playing three hours in a row. That’s hard under perfect conditions.”

Chastain said she’s noticed in watching men’s soccer games on television that the top soccer players in the world are still comfortable with the ball even when there’s a defender on them. She said the goal this week is to make the players at the camp comfortable with the ball even when a defender’s on them.

“That’s going to be our objective this week,” Chastain said. “And have fun. That’s the objective all the time to have a good time because I love soccer.”

She also said she was impressed with the group of players at Edmonds. “This is a nice, lively group we have here,” Chastain said.

Edmonds will help her run an efficient camp, Chastain said. “It’s a great facility,” she said. “We’ll be able to implement all the things we’re doing. It will be perfect.”

It’s going to be a busy summer for Chastain. The camp in Carson and Reno is the second of third camps she’s doing this month.

She’s already helped conduct four seminars for pontential Olympians and those who are already qualified for this summer’s games in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

In the seminars Chastain talks to the athletes about what the Olympic experience is like and the responsiblities of being an Olympian. She still has seminars remaining, including one with the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team in July.

In addition, Chastain will play again in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship to be held July 8-13 at Edgewood in Stateline.

And there’s the Olympics where Chastain will served as the color commentator for women’s soccer.

“This will be my first time (doing) color,” Chastain said. “This is going to be fun. I think it’s going to go off well.”