Although I was raised here in the south beneath the Friday night lights, the original form of football has come to my current southern home. A game that offers a phenomenal physical and mental challenge to all players on the field, soccer is quickly gaining ground on the pigskin. With opportunities here in Carrollton for spring and summer soccer rec teams, the only season without the shins being covered is summer. Except for camps, that is. And the best one we have found so far happens in our own little town.
Challenger Sports handles the British Soccer Summer Camps (as well as many other soccer camps and programs). This group functions at a national level to bring soccer, coached by young British men, to your kids at the local level – usually through the city or county rec center. What could be better than great skill sets, positive attitudes, fun and focused team building activities and, of course, the fabulous accent? How about hosting a coach? Yep, it does get better.
We hosted a young man last year (Lewis) and have maintained an active friendship and watched him complete university and begin seeking a job in his desired field of sports media. This year, we double scored – yes, we had two fellas. Hence the picture – my little man in the middle and our two house guests, Tom and Joel.
And my little man loves all of it – coaching input from a friendly soul, someone to watch matches with at home (last year was the World Cup, this year has been European Cup) and time with an admirable older male (with manners!!) Likewise, his parents love it too. How awesome is it to learn about another country’s school system, their culture, habits, preferred foods? To introduce them to ours? To take them to Dairy Queen for the first time? Yes, at 18+ … frankly, it is even more fun than with a 4-year-old. How about introducing them to water sports? Swimming, jet skis, and kayaks or seeking out the best version of young world’s most favorite food, pizza. To have an opportunity to learn about their families, their vacation preferences (hello, less than $100 to fly to Portugal anyone??!!), girlfriends, plans for school, etc. Since they only left Carrollton a few weeks ago, we have not gotten into a communication pattern yet – but with the ever expanding inter-web, I do not doubt we will track their lives as well. And little man is more than a bit mopey now that his playmates are gone, too.
If you have a little one who is just getting interested in European football or a child who is already spending time on the field, look for one of these camps. They are all mixed gender, separated only by appropriate age ranges. Be sure to check nearby counties as well. For example, Carrollton has two separate sessions this summer – and Tom and Joel had already covered Newnan, as well as cities in South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama. Check out the website to find out more, including camp locations. With half-day and full day camps, everyone has an option. The intense interview and tryout process that these young men go through to be granted this opportunity definitely brings the best, brightest, kindest and most polite to our fields.
Oh, and the cherry on top? If you host a coach, Challenger Sports refunds the cost for your child’s camp to cover the feeding and fun times. Now that’s a win, win. Bring on the Brits! (ah, the accents!!)