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British coaches hone local youth soccer skills at camp
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

June 19. 2013 3:23PM
The British came to Brandon last week.

And while here, they captured the attention of about 60 youth soccer players at the week long British Soccer Camp, held on the grounds of the McHardy Park Soccer Complex.

Brandon Area Soccer Association registrar Barb Sperlich said the program was brought to Brandon “to give them (players) a different taste of soccer. We have wonderful volunteer coach parents, which is fantastic, but these guys are non-biased, come in with fresh eyes and can see the things we don’t see.”

Camp coaches, 21-year-olds Nick Coles of Wales and Sean Hawkins of Plymouth, England, led the five-day camp for kids ages 4-17. The morning session had about 40 youngsters involved, and the three-hour afternoon session drew about 25 players, ages 11-17.

At the conclusion of each day, Coles and Hawkins spoke individually with the players and at the end of the camp, were given written comments on what they do well or need to improve on.

Coles said the British Soccer Camp is based on the ABC’s of the sport – agility, balance and coordination.

“After the ABCs we teach them different turns,” he said.

During the week long camp, participants honed their skills in dribbling, shoot-ins, passing, head-ins and body-ins.

But the British Soccer Camp curriculum doesn’t use mundane drills to enhance the players’ skills. Instead, they play games and hold daily competitions, like the World Cup, which was played at the end of each day in preparation for the finals on Friday.

“We love to teach through games,” Hawkins said. “And that’s the way I coach, because at the end of the day, they’re playing a game and kids enjoy playing, so let ‘em play.”

By the end of the week, Coles and Hawkins hope the campers “feel good about themselves and learned something new,” Hawkins said. “Because you want to see them enjoy the game that you enjoy.”

Both men praised the BASA and the city’s soccer complex.

“This facility itself is phenomenal,” Hawkins said. “You’re blessed here, you guys really are.”
Campers Grace Bennett, 13, and Chloe Askdal, also 13, both registered for the camp because they want to improve their soccer skills and “because some of my friends are doing it,” Bennett said.

Bennett said she wanted to work on scoring and playing offense, while Askdal was looking for improvement in her footwork and heading.

Sperlich said each camper received a jersey, soccer ball and t-shirt with their early registration.

“A lot of parents already want it (to return) next year,” she said.

British Soccer Camp coach Sean Hawkins watces as Allie Holmes works on her foot ball handling skills last week in Brandon. About 60 youth particiapted in the British Soccer Camp, which was held at the McHardy Park Soccer Complex. Photo by Jill Meier

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