Ashley Clamp of Northamphton, England, dribbles away from his three to five year old campers as they give chase to try and steal the ball. Clamp was one of three instructors from England leading the British Soccer Camp from Challenger Sports at Woodbury Sports Complex this week.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Ashley Clamp of Northamphton, England, dribbles away from his three to five year old campers as they give chase to try and steal the ball. Clamp was one of three instructors from England leading the British Soccer Camp from Challenger Sports at Woodbury Sports Complex this week.

British soccer camp brings unique coaches to Craig

Moffat County kids were treated to some top-notch soccer instruction this week as young players and coaches from across the pond came to show them the ropes of the world’s game.

About 30 children ages three to 13 took part in the British Soccer Camp this week, concluding today on the soccer fields at Woodbury Sports Complex. At the camp, young players from England employed by Challenger Sports lead youth camps at cities all across regions of the country, move from one spot to the next each week.

Teaching children basic to more advanced skills in any sport can be a challenging task in trying to control and instruct a group with seemingly endless energy, but the instructors in Craig said they have loved teaching in the United States.

“I’ve absolutely loved it so far,” said Andy Wheaton, 22. “The kids are a lot better here than in England. Everybody there plays soccer right away, so they’re a lot harder to teach. Here, you see kids improve from the first day through the end of camp. It’s makes my job worth it.”

Wheaton and fellow coach Ashley Clamp, 21, are both in their first year with Challenger and said it has been an unforgettable experience.

The camps work through every aspect of soccer, including dribbling, shooting, passing and headers along with games to mix it up. That is the part Sean Kilkenny, 13, said is his favorite.

“I like the World Cup at the end of the day, and I come for the second session, too, when you get to do more of the fun games,” he said.

Clamp has coached the youngest group, 3 to 5-year-olds, which requires a slightly different approach than the older age groups. But it does not disappoint in the fun department, he said.

“It’s been brilliant,” Clamp said about coaching this week in Craig. “It’s a bit different teaching the young group, you’ve just got to be enthusiastic and it’s about having fun. But it’s great because you see them learn so much in a short space of time.”

Seeing America for the first time has been a cool experience for the instructors. They’ve been in some larger cities than Craig, but have enjoyed the unique things Craig has to offer.

“This is probably about a medium-sized camp for what we’ve seen so far,” said Sully Desai, the camp director and coach for the oldest age group in Craig this year. “It’s been good fun. We floated the river (Wednesday), we’ve been to a few local restaurants. We have good facilities here, too, which we don’t always have. It’s nice to see some real soccer fields.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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