Over the Summer, Brendan had the opportunity to participate in the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp. The camp lasted 5 days, began at 9am and ended at 4pm. When we got there the first day, the sign-in process went very smoothly and quickly. I noticed right away how professional and nice the coaches were. When it was time to start, we had an orientation of sorts, where the two coaches introduced themselves and told us a bit of what to expect throughout the camp. The coaches were highly experienced British soccer players, and have done this camp many times.
I was a bit apprehensive, because Brendan is not very athletic at all, and being home schooled, has not been involved with many sports (although that will be changing!). But I needn't have worried. There were children of a variety of skill levels there, and the coaches knew how to help each of them.
The camp days consisted of drills, scrimmages, learning about the game of soccer, and even learning about soccer in Europe, and a bit about Europe itself. They had small homework assignments where they were to learn about a certain country, or make a flag for the country that their "team" at camp was named after. They also played little games that were a bit fun and silly for the kids, but still taught soccer skills. One of Brendan's favorites was when they would stand in a circle around the coach, and he would randomly throw the ball at one of them and either say "catch it" or "head it" and they would quickly have to do what he said. Then he would switch it up and they would have to do the opposite of what he said, so if he said "head it" they would have to catch it, and vice versa. It produced lots of giggles and dropped balls, but it was a great game to learn quick reflexes!
The coaches were very careful when it came to safety. They insisted that the children put on sunscreen, and apply throughout the day. They took regular water breaks, and had an indoor facility that they could go in if the weather became bad. They were also always on the lookout for untied shoelaces.
At the end, they gave me a detailed evaluation of Brendan's progress. They were honest about the things he needed to work on, and the things he excelled at. They said that overall, he made wonderful progress throughout the week.
Brendan had a wonderful time. Each day when I went to pick him up, he was exhausted, but excited to tell me everything they had done that day. He loved it so much that we have now put him on a local soccer team. He still is not the most athletic child, but he is making progress, and he has a love for soccer that started at this camp and I think will stick with him!