It’s a game played the world over, and more than 70 young Huntsville soccer players recently got the chance to improve their skills and learn some new ones with coaches from across the globe.
This summer, the Huntsville Soccer Club hosted a Challenger International soccer camp. The organization brings coaches—who are billeted with local families—from other countries. This year, Huntsville played host to six coaches who hailed from Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Egypt.
“It’s the second year we’ve had Challenger International run our soccer camp,” says HSC Administrator, Graham Thompson. “(The) campers love getting to know coaches from around the world,”
The coaches—Rachel Wall (Ireland), Jordan Vincent (Spain), Stephanie Knight (Scotland), Luke Kavanagh (Ireland), Andrew Phelopes (Egypt) and Marco Bold (Germany)—love it, too. It’s not just a positive opportunity for the local players, notes Thompson. The Challenger International organization provides a great opportunity for those 18 and over to have a job that involves travel.
One of the coaches, Rachel, said, “I’ve absolutely loved coaching and directing this week in Huntsville. The facilities were great, the kids were energetic and willing to learn everyday. I really enjoyed watching the campers progress each day! Probably one of the best camps I have worked on so far and I would absolutely love to have the opportunity to come back next year!”
Campers complete technical drills in the morning followed by a World Cup tournament. “There’s great fun involved in the World Cup final which takes place on Friday where the winning team gets the Challenger Sports trophy,” says Coach Rachel. “However, one of the campers’ favourites Is when the campers get to soak the coaches on a Friday afternoon! Challenger is all about developing the campers skills and helping them grow as a player while also being a very fun-filled camp.”
The coaches appreciated the commitment of their young charges and the hospitality of their host families.
“It was a pleasure to coach at Huntsville FC. I had a fantastic week coaching and seeing many kids improve their skills and grow more passionate about the game of soccer in Canada,” said Coach Luke. “I want to give a special word of thanks to my host family the Patterson family!”
“I thoroughly enjoyed watching the individuals improve and progress with their soccer skills,” adds Coach Steph. “But more importantly, I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience the town’s culture and share my own with the campers.”
All expressed their appreciation for the community and a desire to return in the future.
“The week at Huntsville was amazing. A beautiful town and amazing people. It was always fun to work with all the kids and seeing them improving at their Soccer skills,” said Coach Marco.
“I had so much fun coaching the kids at the Huntsville Soccer Club this week. Seeing them improve their soccer skills while having fun throughout the week was so fulfilling,” added Coach Andrew. “Also, our host family opened their home to us and made us feel like home. My week in Huntsville was an amazing week and hopefully I’ll be back again for next year’s camp.”
“All the kids were very enthusiastic at the start of camp and they all showed a great level of soccer throughout the week,” said Coach Jordan. “I can’t wait to come back and see the improvements they have made throughout the year!”
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