GOAL! British duo teach soccer
The World Cup recently drew a large American audience through vast media coverage and worldwide interest. After Spain’s victory, there has been much debate about whether soccer will stick around and become a popular sport year-round in the United States.
A pair of young men from England spent a week in Corydon as leaders of the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp at the YMCA of Harrison County in an attempt to showcase the sport even more.
The unique Challenger Sports program hosts 2,000 camps around the nation, led by 700 coaches with British ties. Corydon welcomed Andrew Jinks, who resides in the Northeast England city of Darlington, and Daniel Clarke, of Liverpool; each are licensed soccer instructors.
‘The goal is to help push the sport of soccer in the United States,’ Clarke said.
Last week, Jinks and Clarke organized two groups: younger kids in the morning and older kids in the afternoon. Many different drills were set up for the younger players, so they can gain knowledge of soccer.
‘At the end of each day, we have a World Cup competition,’ Jinks said. ‘They get points that add up through the week. They get points for showing they learned new skills, fair play and improvement.’
At the end of the week, those with the most points play in a World Cup final. Family and friends are invited to the final day, so they can see the progress the participants made.
Also for the younger kids, they have special activities outside of soccer.
‘We have a crazy hair day; have a competition who can make the best mixed drink; decorate your ball; and, on hot days, soak the coach with water,’ Clarke said. ‘They are just activities to not only learn soccer, but to have fun and be creative.’
Jinks plays amateur soccer in Darlington while coaching in different areas of England. His goal is to become a permanent coach one day.
‘This is not only a resum’ builder for me, but it allows me to see America and interact with different families,’ Jinks said. ‘It has been absolutely quality.’
Clarke plays soccer for his college team in England and used his summer break to coach the Challenger Sports Camp in the United States.
‘We are in the states for 10 weeks,’ he said. ‘Both of us will go home at the end of August.’
When the older participants join the camp in the afternoon, the technical level of the game is the focus. Also offered in the afternoon is a goalkeeper camp, a chance for one-on-one work with those who want to play the position.
‘What we do is teach the older kids skills, passing and shooting in the ways we were taught in England,’ Jinks said. ‘We can tell many have been taught before through the British camp.’
Walter Pauly, the sports and camp program director at the YMCA, said this is the third year for the camp.
‘What the kids like the most are the guys,’ Pauly said. ‘The kids still talk about last year’s coaches, two guys from Liverpool and one from Wales.’
As far as the English accents, the coaches said it hasn’t been much of a problem.
‘About halfway through the first day, the kids start to understand us,’ Jinks said. ‘We try to speak slowly and clearly.’
Jinks and Clarke are scheduled to work camps in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Each week, they are assigned a different city. A host family also takes the coaches in. While in Corydon, the Schulze family played host.
Late in the day, Jinks and Clarke went from teaching the game to playing.
‘We played a pick-up game with some Hispanics the other day,’ Jinks said. ‘It was a lot of fun.’
Harrison County has had a youth soccer program for more than 25 years, now organized by the YMCA.
For more information about the soccer programs at the YMCA, call 734-0770. Registration for the fall league is underway.