Gary Metters has coached the annual summer soccer clinic held at the regional high school for 15 years. Not a day goes by that he wishes for anything else, not even a soccer career with Aston Villa.

The key to any sport is first having a lot of fun. — Jeanna Shepard

“I suppose it’s every father’s dream to have their son play professional soccer,” said Mr. Metters. This is not just idle talk, either.

Originally from Plymouth, England, Mr. Metters received a trial offer to play for English Premier League soccer club Aston Villa when he was just 16 years old. His father served in the Royal Air Force during the 1980s, bringing the family everywhere he traveled. At the time, Mr. Metters played in a Cyprus men’s league when he received the news from Aston Villa. Despite his father’s excitement, Mr. Metters walked away from the once-in-a-lifetime offer.

“At 16 I knew everything,” he said, jokingly. “I knew I didn’t want to go back to England and play soccer for a living.”

Mr. Metters passes along the skills he learned as a kid. — Jeanna Shepard

English soccer differs mightily from American soccer, he said. People talk soccer in England the same way Americans talk politics. According to Mr. Metters, it never ends peacefully, and he grew tired of his coaches’ constant verbal abuse. Not just mentally tired, he was physically exhausted too. He played every day of the week for three or four teams. Something needed to give.

He hung up his cleats at just 17, and vowed to never treat children the same way his coaches treated him.

Mr. Metters moved to the Vineyard in 1996 and took over the summer camp here 15 years ago. For two weeks each summer, one in July and one in August, he spends Monday through Friday teaching children how to fall in love with the game. The camp is open to children between the ages of five and 11. Now in its 25th year, the camp typically attracts 25 to 30 children per session, and two or three volunteers help operate the camp. This year, Mr. Metters brought aboard Nic Andre, a member of the Boston Bolts Academy team.

The camp starts at 9 a.m. every morning at the MVRHS soccer fields. For the remainder of the morning, the kids play an array of activities using the soccer ball. Some activities concentrate on passing skills, others mimic other sports, such as cricket and golf.

Every day, Mr. Metters swaps players from team to team. He wants to give every kid an opportunity to play with one another, regardless of age. Hoping to make things interesting, he also lets multiple games break out at once. He even plays up to six balls at once.

“The object for me is to get the young kids having fun with the ball,” explained Mr. Metters, who insists on not barking instructions at the children.

Doing drills on a hot summer day. — Jeanna Shepard

“Without telling them anything, you’re giving them a better vision of the field. If a kid makes a mistake, they know it. There’s no need to yell at him [or her].”

At around 11 a.m., the camp wraps-up for the day, but Mr. Metters sticks around long after. He teaches a few new tricks to those willing to listen, never turning away anyone who want to learn more about the sport.

“Hopefully they [leave] here with an enjoyment of the game,” he said, “It’s purely to try and spread a love of the game. If I can keep them playing, then I know I did my job.”

This year’s camps were held on July 11 to 15, and August 8 to 12. For more information and to sign up for next year’s camps visit