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Monday, May 2, 2016

British soccer camp scores

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coach Kieran Howarth, right, instructs the participants of the Challenger Sports British Soccer camp at Big Walnut Sports Park. The program is entering its fifth year in Greencastle and it brings in coaches and instructors from England to teach young kids how to play soccer. [Order this photo]
In its fifth year at Big Walnut Sports Park in Greencastle, the local leg of the Challenger Sports British Soccer camp has come a long way.

The coaches for the camp have come even farther.

The camp brings young soccer coaches/instructors from England on a tour of various towns across the United States. Here, the camp was broken into two sessions a day from June 20--24. The first session ran from 9 a.m. to noon and catered to children ages 3-8. The second ran from 5--8 p.m. and was open to players age 9--14.

David Brown, a first-time instructor for British Soccer camps, worked with children ages 3-6 in the morning and 9-12 in evenings was quite impressed with his first experience but is still getting the hang with some aspects of the game over here.

"The kids' enthusiasm for football... Sorry,. soccer," said Brown, still working out the translation, "is amazing. If we had this enthusiasm as kids in England we'd have the best players in the world."

Brown, 20, is studying Sports Coaching and Development at the University of Wales, Newport, where he will return this autumn. He values the opportunity Challenger Sports has offered him, as working with the younger children gives him priceless experience.

Kieran Howarth, 24, who worked with the older age brackets in each session has been coaching full time in Naperville, Ill. He enjoyed the challenge of coaching the two sessions and different age groups and tried to employ different strategies for each.

"With the younger kids, if I just say 'Go fast,' or 'Go slower,' they wouldn't pay attention," said Howarth, "So, I used references to characters in movies and other things they could understand."

Apparently, characters from popular children's film "Cars" proved fruitful in representing different speeds of play.

"With the older kids I was able to go deeper into actual tactics, working with movement and placement on the field," Howarth said.

For the coaches, the camp sessions weren't the only meaningful experiences.

"The host family, for me, is the best thing about it," said Howarth, who spent the week with the Putnam County Youth Soccer Association president Pedar Foss' family.

Each coach spent the week living with a different host family.

"There is really no way to thank them enough," Brown said of his host family experience with the Steve Liveoak and family.

The soccer programs here in the States have been decidedly different for the pair than those they've experienced in England.

"Soccer here in America is a lot more structured," said Howarth, "I think because America is so much bigger and more spread out, it takes more planning to get a game together, where I could make two phone calls and have a game together."

Howarth believes this gives American soccer a noticeably different feel.

"You would not get a facility like this in England," Brown said of the Big Walnut Sports Park, "It's so open and the pitches are all flat."

Both coaches had a wonderful experience at the Greencastle leg of their camp tour and have moved on to new locations for this week.

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