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Teen Get His Kicks Teaching Soccer

Dave Barna has played soccer in Italy, Spain and South Africa, and this summer he wants to play in your backyard. The incoming senior at the Hopkins school in New Haven will be offering individual and small group lessons to children 7 to 15.

The 18-year-old Easton resident, who has been playing since he was 4, said parents have approached him before about helping their children to improve skills. He will teach basic skills like dribbling that he says can be overlooked in a team practices. "I'm not saying the coaches aren't doing their job, but when the coach is focused on the team, it's less individualized and I think doing things outside of practice is a good idea," he said.

David has played for the Beachside Club Soccer team, a group of players from across Fairfield County, for seven years. He also plays for the Olympic Development Program's state team, which is not affiliated with the Olympics but is a regional team of elite players. Region one, which includes Connecticut, stretches from Maine to West Virginia. This team has given him to opportunity to play in several countries.

Italy was his favorite. "Locals would come to these games and cheer for Americans," he said. The mayor of a small town outside Venice told U.S. team they had kept the field pristine and untouched for six months in preparation for their game.

"I like to work with kids," he said. "I'd like to be able to work with kids in the middle school and three years from now be able to watch them play at Barlow and say I helped them."

David hopes the current hype over the World Cup will inspire some young players to sign up for his lessons and that this new interest in the game will be "a little more than a fad."

David can be reached at 203-964-7785 or at

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