Soccer basics transcend language barriers at Challenger
Scoring with soccer. British Challenger soccer coaches Bradley Sixsmith, top left, and Anthony Hughes happily let their young team soak them on a hot afternoon during last week’s camp. Upper right. Eryn Lachmuth, 4, puts her all into a kick during a kind of bowling game. Lower left. Head coach Sal Besim has a talk about sportsmanship with disgruntled young player. (Heather Black photos)
A weeklong camp taught Armstrong kids the basics of soccer, sportsmanship and British slang.
The annual Challenger British Soccer Camp returned last week, matching up six coaches from different parts of England with local youth aged three to 16. Despite a constant struggle between the two factions of whether or not it’s a football or soccer ball, cleats or football boots, goal or net and cones or pylons, the 2012 camp was another success for Armstrong Spallumcheen Parks and Recreation.
“I’ve said it so many times this week, ‘go get your football’ and they tell me no, it’s a soccer ball,” head coach Sal Besim of London said with a laugh.
All coaches enjoyed working with the budding soccer stars, describing them as “brilliant” (Besim) and “really well behaved” according to Andrew Besley of Wales.
Aside from the kids they work with, the English boys were very impressed with Western Canada as a whole, having landed in Calgary before heading to places like Creston, Vancouver and Victoria. Being a Challenger coach enables them to travel—with a rental car provided—and experience numerous new activities such as wakeboarding, tubing and milking a cow.
“I love it,” Liverpool’s Tom Foster stated. “We’ve got try so much stuff we’ve never done before.”
Besim agreed, adding that he could see himself living here, particularly Victoria.
“There’s so much more opportunity here, better weather and the people are a lot friendlier,” he said.
All university students, or recent graduates back in England, the boys applied for the positions not only for the opportunity to travel, but also because it looks good on the CV (curriculum vitae), or resumé. All in the first year with Challenger, they had to apply online and were then invited to an interview day during which each applicant had to put on a session to show their coaching skills, and do a one-on-one interview. At this stage they’re not allowed to decide which region they’re sent out to, but second year coaches are allowed more input on their location. Each camp lasts a week, and from there the coaches are scattered to different locations, which they find out on Thursdays.
“Every week’s different coaches, different kids, different families, a different area,” Foster explained. “Every week is different.”
Though that is half the fun and, having this week off, the six have opted to continue exploring. They’ll head to Seattle for a few days, during which they’ll watch their country’s hero David Beckham during an L.A. Galaxy versus the Seattle Sounders soccer match.