Across the Pond to Craig
British soccer players bring skills to local soccer camp
“You bring yourself down to their level, be a bit of a big kid yourself, which is easy enough. We were having a blast today. The kids seemed to really enjoy it. That’s the main thing, is make sure the kids are enjoying it.”
— Kieran Rimmington, British Soccer Camp counselor, about how he leads his campers.
Soccer doesn’t have the draw in Northwest Colorado that football and basketball do, so Craig Parks and Recreation is helping bring the world’s most popular game to its youth—all the way from Europe.
The Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp kicked off Monday morning at Woodbury Park. The weeklong camp has soccer players from England coaching youths from Moffat County on soccer skills and proper gameplay.
Zac Pollitt, 22, is the camp director in Craig. It is the Bolton, England native’s third year doing a camp in Craig, and he said the first day went well.
“Camp went really well actually,” Pollitt said. “It’s good to see a lot of familiar faces this year and as you can see, the kids enjoyed it. We enjoyed it as well.”
Monday’s camp featured basic ball-control and dribbling development, followed by World Cup soccer games, a competition between various “countries” campers represent which lasts the entire week.
“We’ll start every day with 30 minutes of skills and turns, so we start real basic and work our way up to the harder stuff, obviously age appropriate,” Pollitt said. “Then we have a topic of the day, today was dribbling, and we get them into the World Cup scrimmages. They split into countries, they earn points, and there’s a World Cup winner at the end of the week.”
The camp, for children ages 3-16, is divided into different age groups and gives children in the area a unique chance to learn from young, talented players who possess the training and experience to teach soccer.
Challenger Sports is an American-based company that selects players from abroad based on the ability they show to provide a fun and useful learning experience for campers.
Kieran Rimmington, 22, of Blackpool, England, was coaching the youngest group of campers in his first year doing the soccer camp.
“It is quite tough (working with the youngest), but basically you’ve just got to be more enthusiastic,” Rimmington said. “You bring yourself down to their level, be a bit of a big kid yourself, which is easy enough. We were having a blast today. The kids seemed to really enjoy it. That’s the main thing, is make sure the kids are enjoying it.”
Jolene Rhyne, 5, said she had fun the first day of camp.
“Camp is good,” she said, adding her favorite part Monday was a drill involving campers trying to steal the soccer ball from each other as “cats” and “dogs”.
Sean Kilkenny, 12, was playing World Cup soccer in the older group led by Pollitt.
“It was really fun, I liked the coaches a lot,” Kilkenny said. “The games we played at the end were my favorite part. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”