Bringing fðtbol to the states

British Soccer Camp begins Monday

On Saturday, 500 soccer enthusiasts from the United Kingdom will fly into the United States and for the rest of the summer the word "fðtbol" will be introduced to American youth soccer programs.

The fðtbol enthusiasts are part of the Challenger British Soccer Camps program, which hires 400 to 500 coaches every summer and sends them to camps throughout the United States.

The first camp in Colorado this summer takes place Monday, June 6, through Friday, June 10, in Craig.

"This is at least the sixth year we've done this," Craig Youth Soccer Association spokesman Ray DuBois said. "The camp exposes our local players to a higher level of coaching and a different perspective."

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.

Phil Shuttleworth is the regional director for the upper Midwest states.

"We hope to ignite a passion for fðtbol in kids," he said. "The CYSA has been very cooperative during our time."

The coach for this year's camp is Challenger first-timer Gavin Tait. London's renowned Chelsea Football Club recently hired the 20-year coaching veteran.

"The good thing is that they're not just skilled with soccer but they're really good with kids," DuBois said. "The kids enjoy how they run the camp. They use a fast-paced, fun style."

Shuttleworth said that the coaches go through a process that is like American Idol.

"We start with 1,500 who want to participate," he said. "In the end we take around the 500 best."

The camps traditionally pull around 30 campers from Craig. Just like last year the camp is separated into two sections by age group. The 5-9-year-old group is from nine to noon. The 10-14 age group will go from 1-4 in the afternoon. All sessions are at Woodbury Fields.

The cost for the camp is $85 for the younger group and $90 for the elders. The cost includes a shirt and a soccer ball. Requirements for campers are shin guards and a soccer ball.

A grant from Moffat County United Way has made it possible for campers to receive financial aid.

To register or to ask about financial assistance, call DuBois at 826-6101 or 824-1085 or e-mail him at ray@trappermine.com. Registration will be accepted up to the first day of camp.

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