Soccer coaches Simon Slater and Shaun Watson

Coaches from England land in Golden for some soccer lessons

Local children had the chance to learn from English soccer coaches.

Two coaches from England brought their obsession for soccer, or football, all the way to Golden last week when they hosted the Challenger Sports soccer camp.

“It’s all over the US and Canada, I think there’s about three and a half thousand camps all over. And each week we go to a different camp and a different place,” said Shaun Watson, one of the two coaches who ran the Challenger Sports camp in Golden.

After 20 years of research in more than 2,000 communities in the US and Canada, Challenger has developed an innovative way to teach young soccer players that revolves around fun, personal challenge, maximum participation and constant positive feedback.

The program attracts thousands of potential coaches, trying out for the opportunity to spend the summer travelling around North America and coaching.

“Over a thousand coaches come over from England, it’s a pretty well known thing,” said Watson. “It’s quite hard. You have to apply, show them all your credentials, and get references from clubs we’ve coached back in England. And then you go to a recruitment day and see if you pass that or not, and then there’s a training weekend. Then you get shipped out.”

The coaches teach the basic skills to young players ages three to 16, although the younger kids tend to focus more on having fun than developing their technique.

“The older ones we try to teach a bit more, passing, shooting that sort of thing,” said Simon Slater, the other Challenger coach at the Golden camp. “We try to teach them some new moves, but also the main skills and fundamentals.”

This was the first trip to Canada for both Watson and Slater, although Slater’s brother has been a ski instructor in Lake Louise for four winters. They head to Cranbrook next, and they are excited to see more of the country.

“This is the first time I’ve been here, but I’ve always wanted to come. It’s been amazing, even just the drive from Calgary to here was awesome,” said Watson. “I’m just in awe of everything.”

“I just want to see a bear. Not now, while I’m in a car,” added Slater. To see more pictures from the soccer camp, go to www.thegoldenstar.net.