Somers welcomes soccer camp instructors from England

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Somers - posted Fri., Jul. 19, 2013
Kaija and coach Sam Winter play a tag/dribbling game at camp. Photos by Calla Vassilopoulos.
Kaija and coach Sam Winter play a tag/dribbling game at camp. Photos by Calla Vassilopoulos.

A good youth sports camp is designed to teach specific techniques to enhance athletic abilities while also advocating the importance of safety, friendship, belonging, and self-esteem. Essentially, this describes the United Kingdom International Soccer Camp in Somers, held July 15 through 19.

“The two coaches are so passionate about soccer, and it shows,” said Vickie Kukulka, mother of two campers in the program. The coaches focused on a different skill every day, incorporated fun games, and encouraged socialization on the soccer field, according to Kukulka. For example, on Tuesday campers worked on their friendship skills by shaking hands and offering compliments, as well as techniques for controlling the ball.

The two English coaches, Dayle Childs and Sam Winter, are part of a program which brings coaches from England, Scotland and a few other countries to the U.S. to travel and instruct soccer camps for 12 weeks during the summer. After each week-long camp is finished, the organization contacts coaches with their new location, travel arrangements and housing accommodations. Coaches are either provided with a hotel room or housed by a camper's family, according to the instructors. In Somers, Childs and Winter were invited to live with a family for the week. Families who participate in hosting receive a scholarship toward camp.

“The host families are the best part for us,” said Childs. “I have never had a bad host family, and I've lived with about 50 families.”

Altogether, Childs has been to 26 different states, including most of the west coast, from Texas up, and most of the east coast, from here to Florida. Of all the places, Childs enjoyed Portland, Oregon, the most, because of the “outdoorsy” culture. Childs said he stayed with a great family who took him wind surfing and to the Rain Forest Cafe, which he would never have the opportunity to do in England. 

“It's a great way for people from England to come and travel, and have a good time while working,” said Childs.

One of the best experiences for Winter has been being able to stand up while water skiing for the first time. He said when he was in Michigan, the families did not have room to host, but one family took him out on the boat and to a Detroit Tigers baseball game. He also mentioned a family in Chicago who extended his stay for two weeks after he finished instructing their child’s camp program.

Though Childs and Winter have had different experiences, they both agreed the main distinction between England and the U.S. is the people seem to be significantly nicer in America. Winter also pointed out the weather is nicer, and the cost of living is lower compared to England.

“Everyone's happy, because it's sunny I guess,” said Winter. “People get happy in England for that one sunny week, but out here everyone seems to be a lot happier, a lot more friendly, and a lot more inviting.”

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