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Challenge soccer comes to Hendrix Park
Coaches Paul Burrows, left, and Ryan Underwood of British Soccer Challenger Sports talk to campers Monday at Hendrix Park in Black Creek. - photo by Photo by John Wood
The world is revolving like one big soccer ball as the World Cup takes place in South Africa. If you can’t make it to South Africa, North Bryan County Recreation is offering soccer camps with a bit of international flavor.
Paul Burrows and Ryan Underwood, in association England-based British Soccer Challenger Sports, are conducting camps this week at Hendrix Park in Ellabell.
Both have been playing the sport since they were 5 years old and eventually were discovered and put into professional academies where players can sign a pro soccer contract at the age of 16. Though they didn’t get contracts, both are playing college soccer in England.
Burrows is watching the World Cup with a very keen eye because one of his South Hampton club teammates is on England’s World Cup team.
British Challenger Soccer has sent more than 1,200 coaches to conduct camps and teach soccer skills to kids in the United States and Canada. More than 110, 000 kids have gone through the camps according to Burrows.
This week they have 18 kids learning the fine art of soccer and battling the sweltering South Georgia heat.
The camps allow campers to choose three different formats. Campers can come for a whole day which runs $165 for the week. Half-day camps are $120. British Soccer also offers an individual skills camp that lasts an hour in the evening for $80.
Campers are divided into World Cup teams on Monday and play a World Cup type of tournament on Friday, the final day of camp. Players can earn points for their teams through different types of competition.
“We have learned doing these camps that American kids are very competitive and always want to keep score during drills and games,” Burrows said.
A typical camp consists of learning dribbling, passing and shooting during the early part of the week. Thursday is a day devoted to defense. Friday, Campers get to showcase their skills when they compete against each other in the World Cup tournament.
“We have players of all ability levels and we try to make each person better by the end of week," Burrows said.
Both coaches stated that they always see dramatic improvement from Monday to Friday.
“By the end of the week even in a short time we see good teams on Friday,” Burrows said.
Burrows and Underwood also stay with a host family during the soccer camp. When they return to England at summers end they will have stayed with 13 different host families.
North Bryan County Recreation department will also host another British Soccer Challenger Soccer camp at Hendrix Park, July 5-9. All participants receive a t-shirt, ball bag and soccer ball with registration. For more information, visit (reference Hendrix Park Soccer).

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