SPORTS>> Kids enjoy learning from Brits
Leader sports writer
IN SHORT: Area youths were schooled in British-style soccer by coaches from England last week at the JSA camp.
The Jacksonville Soccer Association held its annual Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp last week at Dupree Park.
The sessions were split into morning and evening groups, with students getting one-on-one training from soccer coaches from the United Kingdom.
The camp was attended by 38 local youths, with over half in the 6-to-10-year-old category. There were a total of 23 kids in the 6-10 group, three in the little kickers program (4-5) and 12 in the advanced group (12-18).
The advanced group met for both morning and evening sessions, totaling six hours of training daily. The morning groups spent the first half of each day working on technical skills such as ball handling, and one-on-one training from coaches Simon Noakes and Chris Gardner.
Noakes is 19 years old and fresh out of high school; Gardner is a 20-year veteran of semi-pro soccer in England. The duo made a good instructing team, with Noakes working with the younger players and Gardner training the older kids.
The second half of the morning was spent playing mock World Cup matches. The players were divided into teams and given the name of a World Cup team.
The team that was designated as the home team also named the practice field the corresponding stadium name with their particular team.
The British team renamed their field ‘Wembley Stadium’, and the German team changed the Dupree field to ‘Sancero Field’.
Camp organizer Kimberly Rogers says the week was a huge success, and was impressed with the British instructors.
“The kids really seem to like the challenge,” Rogers said. “Some of the kids, especially the advanced, were going home with sore feet. That means they were working them pretty good. The younger kids really love coach Simon. I would say overall that the camp went very well.”
This is my second year with Challenger Sports,” British club trainer Chris Gardner said. “They are trying to supply every club with a British coach to help their progress in fundamentals. They are also taking American crews to England right now, so the program is really getting off the ground.
JSA is also preparing for registration of the fall league. Registration dates will be June 24, July 15, 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jacksonville Community Center.
For more information, contact Tina Harris at 941-3588.