Soccer camp, a cultural experience

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For the third straight year the YMCA’s soccer summer camp is receiving some international flair.

Each of the past three summers the YMCA has partnered with U.K. International Soccer to find coaches for its camp.

According to Josh Elmore with the YMCA soccer program, the camp has been instructed during its three years by coaches from three different countries, including Sweden and England.

This year’s camp began on Monday and is a weeklong with a different topic from the game of soccer covered each day. The coaches are Jo Cramond and Jamie Miller, both from Scotland.

“It teaches them a little something new everyday and hopefully they’ll take what they’ve learned from us into their season,” Cramond said.

In many ways it is a cultural experience for everyone involved in the camp as the kids interact face-to-face with someone from another country, while Cramond and Miller encounter all that America has to offer.

“This program is not just based on soccer, but we’re also here to teach the kids people skills,” Miller said.

Cramond and Miller traveled down from Chicago. Clanton will be their first of several camps held in the U.S. throughout the summer months.

Miller is in his first year as a member of U.K. International but has been teaching the game for the past four years, while Cramond has been with organization since 2014.

“Meeting a range of people is fantastic,” Cramond said. “We could be here one week and the next week get called up to Alaska. You just never know.”

According to Miller, it is his first time in the U.S. and the biggest things he has had to adjust to is dealing with the heat and getting the kids to understand his accent.

Soccer has grown in popularity in the U.S. over the years, especially among the younger age groups.

“You can see a difference,” Miller said. “When kids get to be 14 or 15 years old, we’re trying to keep them in soccer instead of changing to baseball or football.”

There are 26 kids registered in the camp, which has continued to increase participants each year.

“We’re trying to inspire the youth of Clanton to get involved in soccer,” Cramond said. “For me, soccer is a very social sport and I think kids can build friendships for the rest of their lives.”