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Brits bring soccer fun again

David Pressgrove

— Not only did Brent Cook improve his soccer skills this week, he learned a new dance.

The 7-year-old Craig youth attended the Challenger British Soccer Camp this week, and a highlight of the camp’s final day was when he broke out in his new dance with a couple of the camp’s coaches.

The coaches “taught me the dance, and they danced with me every time they mentioned my name,” he said.

The coaches taught Brent the dance because his name reminded them of a character on Britain’s version of “The Office.”

“There is a boss on our version of the television show ‘The Office’ whose name is David Brent,” coach Kenny McComish said. “He does a dance that has become popular (in Britain) and since our new friend’s name is Brent, we thought we’d teach it to him.”

The camp, which is brought to the city by Craig Parks and Recreations, has become an annual fixture for Craig youths in the summer. This year, there were more than 30 campers at Woodbury Park every morning.

McComish joined Kevin Comer and Danny Richardson for this week’s camp. The three are a part of Challenger’s group of coaches who cover the Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado region during the summer. Challenger brings coaches from Britain to America for the summer to put on the camps. The Challenger Web site states they put on the largest soccer camp in the United States with more than 60,000 participants.

The Craig camp has gained some regulars.

“This is my third year to participate,” said 13-year-old Karen Bolton. “I keep coming back because it is so much fun.”

Bolton was the captain of the World Cup winning Mexico team. She made a Mexico flag and jerseys for her teammates, so they would look like a true team.

“I had to draw the middle part of the Mexico flag, and it took a lot of work,” she said. “One thing that is fun is the international flavor they bring to the camp.”

The campers were split into teams to compete in the daily World Cup scrimmages. Each group got to pick its country, and to the disappointment of McComish, no camper picked his home as a representative.

“You would think since I’m the coolest coach they would have picked my homeland,” he said. “But I guess Scotland didn’t qualify for this World Cup.”

Although nobody picked Scotland, they were excited about their time with the coaches. “They keep it fun the whole time,” said Jeremy Looper, 7.

The coaches said they try their best using games to teach skills of the game. They had games of “pirates,” “soccer jail” and “surfs up” to name a few.

“It’s important that they’re learning,” said Richardson, who worked with the youngest groups of campers, from ages three to five. “But it’s hard to keep their attention for longer than five to 10 minutes.”

After signing autographs and packing up the camp, the coaches planned to head to Steamboat Springs to stay at one of their host family’s condo for the weekend. (Each coach stays with a host family during the week.)

“Next week, we’re off to Leadville,” said Comer, who was the coordinator of this week’s camp.


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