Keeping it loose at Camp Shutout

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- “You’re counted on as the last guy or the last girl to be a savior,” said Camp Shutout director Stan Anderson.

Undervalued and underappreciated are two words that come to Anderson’s mind when he talks about the position he loves to coach.

“You know, it’s a lonely position, but as you guys saw today, and as you look around, you’re not lonely here, but it’s a lonely position,” said Anderson.

Anderson has been putting on Camp Shutout for 31 years. It’s only grown, and it’s teaching keepers how to go the extra mile to make the save.

“The goal of the camp is for you to come and improve your game,” said Anderson. “It’s that simple. It’s not a college showcase.”

More than 200 keepers from all over the nation and world traveled to Stevens Point for Camp Shutout looking to refine their skills. Cole Kowalski made the short trek from Wausau eyeing the goal of being a professional goalkeeper.

“You get better at every aspect of the game once you come to this camp,” said Kowalski. “I came here at age 10, and I wasn’t the best goalkeeper. They divide the youth groups into different categories, and I’m in the highest group of the youth.”

Kowalski impressed in net winning the Chris Rapson award, which is given to the keeper who shows the highest quality of leadership. An award that would have never have been a reality if it wasn’t for the first save.

“We were playing a game,” said Kowalski. “We were just switching out goalkeepers, and I jumped in net. I volunteered to go in net. I threw on the gloves. Made my first ever save, and I was like ‘Wow, that was fun.’”

An old stereotype about keepers is that they have to be a bit crazy to enjoy a ball flying at their face. Camp Shutout is a perfect opportunity for those keepers to enjoy feeling normal for a week.