Soccer camp has international flair

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The YMCA of Chilton County hosted its annual soccer summer camp in partnership with U.K. International on June 11-15.

Coaches from various countries around the world have instructed the camp in recent years.

This year’s coaches were Andy Mason and Jasmine Grounds of England and Siobhan Kennedy of Ireland.

Each day pertained to a specific curriculum. Certain aspects of the game that were focused on included passing, ball control, dribbling, shooting and turning.

“We try to aim them on a certain subject,” Mason said. “Each day is kind of different, but is still a fun experience for the kids.”

U.K. International is a soccer organization that holds camps in various cities throughout the United States, from New York to Los Angeles.

“The numbers [in Clanton] are pretty receptive of what we see everywhere else,” Mason said.

According to Mason, after working with the organization for five years he has seen a continued growth of interest in soccer at the majority of locations where camps are held.

“The kids know all of the superstars,” Mason said. “They know Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo, who they play for, and what they’re good at. They’re watching more soccer, and the interest just goes up with that.”

The camp participants ranged in skill level from recently being introduced to the game to those having played for years.

“It’s mostly about letting them have fun with a little bit of instructions thrown in,” Kennedy said.

According to Kennedy, the children are always fascinated when they find out what countries the coaches are from.

Grounds is new to U.K. International, and visited Clanton in just her second week as a member of the organization.

The camp is a cultural experience for everyone involved.