It rained most of the day Monday in London, but a whole host of soccer playing kids had no problem with the soggy conditions.
The overcast skies, wet fields and bouncing soccer balls gave the fields behind St. Patrick School a distinct British feel. That and the fact that the collection of coaches in town teaching the game had their British accents echoing through the air as they barked out instructions.
More than 50 youth soccer players had gathered in the morning and again for an afternoon session at the soccer fields all week taking part in the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp.
“We have the coaches out here from England, we’ve even got one from Brazil,” Jeff Stiffler, coordinator for the Challenger Sports Camp and director of London Soccer said. “We use their skills and their love of the game, to teach the kids how to play the game of soccer. As far as dribbling, kicking, running and all that sort of thing, it’s a really good program and these kids are learning a lot.”
This is the sixth straight year in which this one week camp has been available to the soccer playing youth of London. Stiffler believes that those participating are getting a lot out of the experience in both terms of soccer skills and learning to listen to and follow instruction.
“There are 54 or so kids out here, they love the British accents,” he said. “They listen and have respect for the coaches. The kids out here want to learn and they really do listen to the coaches. I really think the British accent draws them in.”
The Challenger British Soccer Camp organization offers these type of camps all across the country, allowing the coaches a chance to instruct American children from coast to coast.
“They are based out of the Cincinnati area and these coaches are doing the camps across Ohio and Kentucky, most of them have come in the last two weeks, and for some of them this is their first camp of the year.”
The teachers are in town staying at the homes of a few campers, Stiffler said being able to be a part of the community for a short period of time is good for the foreign-born visitors, but also good for the campers involved. He said ultimately it’s what the teachers can provide in terms of teaching the game that means the most.
“The camp gives the kids a chance to learn the higher skills, I can’t do it all, it’s easier to bring these coaches in and have them teach,” he said. “The kids listen to them, and they’re going to learn the techniques needed to play at a higher level.”
The full-day campers are participating Monday through Friday this week from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 3-6 p.m., for a total of 30 hours of instruction.
“Even with all of the rain it was cool to hear a lot of comments from the parents talking about the kids really enjoying themselves,” Stiffler said.
Chris Miles cane be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 r via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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