Soccer is thought to be more than 2,000 years old with its origins traced back to ancient China, Greece and Rome, but it is England that is credited with the true evolution of the sport.
It is no secret that soccer is considered the most popular sport in the world. A FIFA — Fédération Internationale de Football Association — survey found that 265 million people actively participate in the sport.
If one were to look at the most recognized and decorated teams in soccer history, they would find teams like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Each team is immensely popular in its own right, but there are few other teams right there at the top and they are the names most synonymous with the global success soccer has achieved over the last 30 years.
They are teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. These teams all have one thing in common. They are all tied to England — the birthplace of the world’s most popular sport.
Knowing all of that, it is fitting that the Altus Soccer Club reached out to Challenger Sports in order to bring its highly regarded British Soccer Camp to Altus from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 1-4.
Challenger Sports has had 20 years of continuous success with its camps in the U.S. and with soccer’s popularity climbing daily, it looks like the success will continue for quite some time.
The camp in Altus is scheduled from Monday through Thursday, Aug. 1-4. Each child will be coached by a member of Challenger’s elite team of 1,200 British soccer coaches that are hand selected and flown to the U.S. exclusively to work with these programs.
Challenger is on pace to hold more than 4,000 soccer programs this year and coach more than 225,000 players between the ages of 3 and 19.
They have made it their mission to provide all children with an opportunity to learn, grow and share a positive and educational camp experience. They believe their camps not only develop success on the field, but also inspire confidence, happiness and build self-esteem.
Former coach and current Regional Direction for Challenger Sports, Ben Halstead-Smyth, knows the value of these camps beyond just playing the sport.
“Having worked for Challenger for 11 years as a camp coach, camp director and now regional director, I have experienced firsthand how our programs enrich the lives of the players, coaches and parents they serve across the United States,” said Halstead-Smyth. “The positive emails I receive from parents and organizations coupled with Challenger Sports’ constant ability to be innovative in a fast growing US Soccer World while always putting their clients first is the reason I love my job.”
They believe the key to any memorable childhood experience is fun and that is primarily what they center their camp culture around. Their coaches are acclaimed for the way they entertain, engage and educate athletes for the duration of the camp.
Challenger has a unique “1,000 touches” syllabus, which provides an innovative daily regimen of foot skills, moves, juggling, tactical core skill practices and daily tournament play to enhance each child’s technical skill.
Challenger also uses soccer to teach respect, responsibility, integrity, leadership and sportsmanship, which are all qualities essential to being a great player and person.
One of the most popular events at each camp is the Camp World Cup. This allows children to have both friendly competition and cultural variety each day. The daily tournament gives attendees a chance to represent a world cup team of their choosing. Extra points are awarded to the children for wearing the team colors of their country, creating flags, and learning as much as they can about their chosen countries culture.
The camp fee is $75 and includes a free soccer ball, a free soccer poster and a personalized skills evaluation. It is for anyone between the ages of 4 and 14 and will be held at Bill Lunderson Park at 4001 North Park Lane.
For more information or to sign up, go to challengersports.com or contact the Altus Soccer Club at 580-318-2721.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.