Soccer players take many breaks during the camp to replenish with water, and enjoy snacks of fresh fruits.
The Bahamas Weekly
Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas - In the midst of World Cup action, Grand Bahama's Sir Jack Hayward English Premier League Soccer Camp is set to get underway on Monday, June 21st and if your child is not already signed up, I'd encourage you to do so. Each year approximately 200 children enjoy the world's leading sport in a one-week camp at the Freeport Rugby Football Club.
Soccer encourages and is all about 'team play' and has disciplined skills which exercise the entire body. Not only that, it's a lot of fun! Many of the local children look forward to this camp for the entire year. It's been told that some of the little ones sleep in their jersey's as soon as they've been registered until opening day, so hyped on the return of one of the best summer camps in The Bahamas.
With camps like this, along with the youth development programs in place for soccer in the country, perhaps one day soon, instead of just watching the World Cup, the Bahamas will be participating.
I've been fortunate to be involved as a local coach since it's inception in 2004 involving the English Premier League and the year prior to that when members of AC Milan out of Italy came for a camp. All four of my children have enjoyed these annual camps over the years and I have enough soccer gear in my home from these camps alone, that I could start a small sports store as each year every child gets two full soccer kits (shorts, jersey, hat, and socks).
2009 photo: Left to right, UK Coach Luther Blissett, UK Coach Jamie Godbold of the FA, UK Coach Tom Hartley of the FA, Rob Speller of the Freeport Rugby Football Club, and Sir Jack Hayward, camp patron.
No matter the weather, and in June it's usually extremely hot, humid and often cursed with sporadic thunderstorms; the wholesome fun of the camp is never squelched as children up the age of 17 years love learning more about the sport and even continue play in the rain. The foreign coaches share their knowledge with the children and local coaches and get to experience the beaches and culture during their stay.
There is a wonderful collaboration of local coaches and junior coaches (many of whom used to attend as young players) who return each year to assist with the camp. The week comes together in a professional manner, and the excitement of meeting foreign coaches from the UK is as big a deal for the local coaches as well as the kids.
Camp patron, Sir Jack Hayward stands center with 2008 first time coach, Jamie Godbold (left) and Philip French, who at the time was a special advisor to the English Premier League and is now a special advisor to the UK Government’s Minister of Sport and will be returning to participate in this year's camp.
In the past the camp has featured such UK talents as Warren Barton, Robbie Earle, Luther Blissett and Tom Hartley. Foreign coaches are being provided by The Football Association, whose team is representing England in the World Cup Finals. This year the children's favourite, Jamie Godbold returns to lead, and along with him will be new-timers to The Bahamas, that being Barbados World Cup player Matthew Joseph, and Sarah Green, who works for the London-based Football Association.
Warren Barton (left) and Robbie Earle helped kick off the camps in the first year with the Premier League Camp in Grand Bahama. Both are TV sports personalities today. Each child at the camp receives a certificate at the end of the week.
Campers get lunch included each day as well as two full sets of uniforms, top level coaching and the chance of a cooling lunchtime swim in the club pool. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids off the field and has sufficient sun-screen applied before they turn up each morning. Pack a swimsuit if you are okay with them swimming in the supervised pool at lunchtime.
Registration forms are available from Town and Country, Yellow Pine Street, or Animale, at Port Lucaya and once completed can be handed in at the same places. They are also available online BELOW from firstname.lastname@example.org or from this website. Youngsters who are registered early can get their uniforms’ from the rugby club on Saturday afternoon, June 19, from 2pm to 4pm. General registration is between the same times on Sunday, June 20.
Let your child enjoy the fastest growing and most popular sport in the world!