UK coaches to hold soccer camp

It is becoming a tradition for the British to invade Craig this time of year, but Paul Revere need not worry, and there aren't any shaggy-haired musicians, either.

The Craig Youth Soccer Association will be hosting the Challenger British Soccer Camps for the third consecutive year June 7 to 11.

"We believe it's important to provide kids a unique experience like this one," said Ray Dubois, spokesman for the CYSA. "It allows them a different cultural outlook and a new way to learn the sport of soccer."

Last year, 35 soccer players attended the camps, which are separated into groups of children ages 5 to 8 (from 9 a.m. to noon) and those ages 9 to 15 (from 1 to 4 p.m.). The goal set by the CYSA this year is to have 40 enroll.

Challenger Sports is based in Kansas City, Kan., and, according to its Web site, is a "total soccer" organization. Challenger is involved in many aspects of soccer including leagues, national growth, coaching assistance and camps. For the British Soccer Camps, Challenger hires 450 coaches from the United Kingdom to come to the United States and teach the sport they grew up with.

"When we recruit coaches, we look for the ones who want to be teachers more than players," said Derek Shoare of the BSC. "We have 1,200 applicants to go through and narrow down so our finalists are well-qualified."

The coaches selected for the Craig camp are both first-year coaches for the BSC.

Jonathan Blackford is a 20-year-old physical education teacher from England who has coached at all levels and plays for his local semi-professional team.

Tristan Lewis is 23 and from Wales. He works in the local futbol organization and plays for the semi-pro league of Wales.

Dubois said it is a goal of the CYSA to provide an opportunity for any child who wants to take part in the camp to do so. Financial aid is available through grants awarded to the CYSA.

Registration will be open until the first day of the camp.

"The coaches not only teach the sport, but they teach about other countries," Dubois said. "This is an opportunity that most small communities like Craig might not have often."

To register or for financial assistance, call Dubois at 826-6101 or 824-1085 or email him at ray@trappermine.com.

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