Truckee River View Sports Park is swarming with aspiring young soccer players.
U.K. International Soccer Camps, the official camp of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), is in the midst of its annual appearance in Truckee. This year, said camp director Nick Townsley, of Scottland, the five-day camp (Monday-Friday) has brought out 156 players between the ages of 4 and 13.
“The kids have been good. They’re very keen,” said Townsley, one of 11 coaches from the United Kingdom, all of whom attend college back home and have played professional or semi-professional soccer in Europe.
“There’s quite a few younger kids, so the challenge is to keep them occupied for three hours,” Townsley continued. “But the coaches are really good at keeping them occupied.”
Those coaches, who stay with host families for the week, have also become popular among camp attendees.
“They’re funny,” said Teagan Pado, 9, adding that the coaches are also OK by him because “they’re not working us too hard.”
Nine-year-old Eli Yale agreed about the coaches.
“They’ve been really fun, especially my coach,” he said. “I’ve had a real good time.”
Pinpointing the most fun part of the camp was an easy task for Eli.
“I like playing the World Cup,” he said, referring to the competitive games the campers get to play at the end of each morning.
Eli isn’t the only one who is enjoying the World Cup competition this week.
“World Cup is pretty much the funnest,” said Daxton Moterex, a 9-year-old who sported a tall, multi-colored mohawk on what was “Wacky” Wednesday. “It’s been really fun.”
While Nathan Ariza, 9, and Aaron Pado, 11, also thought the World Cup games highlighted each day, Aaron’s 9-year-old brother Teagan Pado disagreed.
“I think the control, how they taught you how to control the ball (was most fun),” Teagan said.
Teagan was talking about one of the different skill-building drills the coaches focus on each day before the World Cup games begin.
Townsley said they have a set criteria of drills to run throughout the week, including ones to improve passing, controlling the ball, dribbling, shooting and defending.
“For me, especially with the older kids, I try to push them as players,” Townsley said. “I want them to leave here as better players.”
While U.K. International Soccer coach Rohan Green said they young players were a bit on the rambunctious side the first couple days of camp, Wednesday they showed marked improvement.
“Now they’re starting to focus on what we’re teaching them,” said Green, who attends London South Bank (college) as a film production major. “Today has been the most advanced day.”
Overall, Nathan Ariza gave the camp a big thumbs up.
“I really like it,” he said, “just because the coaches are nice and they teach me a lot.”
U.K. International Soccer Camps, Inc. ” touted as “The Best Possible Soccer Experience” on its Web site ” is the official soccer camp of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).
Established in 1990, U.K. International Soccer Camps offers programs in 37 of 50 states and is the largest provider of soccer instruction in the Western United States.
Each coach has has played pro or semi-pro soccer in Europe and is certified in equivalence to the USSF ‘A’ or ‘B’ License.
While camp programs are available year-round, the majority are held from June to September and around Easter and Christmas vacations.
For more information about U.K. International Soccer Camps, Inc, call (909) 793-7759 or (888) UK-SOCCA.
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