Fifty Blount County children, ages 4 to 14, got to learn the finer points of soccer from some of the best coaches in the world when Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp was held in Alcoa earlier this summer.
Kevin Shockley, administrator of coaches for American Youth Soccer Organization Region 1159, said the camp from July 18-22 came together because the Challenger Sports company has similar values as AYSO.
“They work with any soccer organization that wants to bring in their services, whether the organization is competitive or recreational. We’re purely recreational,” he said. “We were looking to offer something new and different that would be a good fit to our values and what we try to teach our kids.”
Shockley said the camp was a great success. “We had right at 50 kids with two different sessions - morning and evening. The age group varied. We had some as young as 4 and as old as 14,” he said. “For a first year camp, it was a great experience. Talking to players and parents, they had a great experience and look forward to next year. We’ve already renewed our contract with them for next year.”
Shockley said something else he appreciated was that the Challenger coaches provided a coaching clinic for AYSO coaches on the Saturday after the camp wrapped. “It was a good exchange of ideas. They not only taught us things, but we could add our thoughts as well, so it was really good.”
Challenger Sports is the leading provider of summer soccer camps in the United States, Canada and Australia with more than 2,000 communities hosting British Soccer Camps for some 100,000 players, according to the company’s website. Approximately 800 British Soccer coaches are selected by Challenger’s UK-based staff, from over 1,000 potential candidates.