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Youth soccer camp offers international experience

Children take part in last year’s soccer season at the Fort Rucker Youth Sports Football Fields. (Photo by Tori Evans)

Children take part in last year’s soccer season at the Fort Rucker Youth Sports Football Fields. (Photo by Tori Evans)

Published: May 20, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 20, 2016) -- Soccer hasn’t quite captivated America like it has much the rest of the world, but the sport has recently been gaining popularity in the U.S.

And Fort Rucker Child, Youth and School Services Youth Sports and Fitness is making sure youth can get in on the action by teaming up with Challenger Sports to bring the British Soccer Camp to the installation where youth from ages 3-16 can take part in a soccer camp to learn or refine their skills, according to Randy Tolison, youth sports and fitness director.

The camp starts May 31 and runs through June 3, he said.

“We invited the organization to come and teach the kids,” said the youth sports director. “We’ve seen an influx in soccer participation over the years, so we wanted to bring something to the installation to get more people into it.”

Tolison said that over the past couple of years, youth participation in soccer has risen from about 150 kids in a season to up to 285 kids in a season.

Challenger Sports will provide coaches from Europe who are soccer subject-matter experts, said Tolison, and the amount of coaches provided will depend on the amount of people signed up.

“They come in and they do all the training and we provide the facilities and the supervision for them,” he said. “They’re bringing a lot of enthusiasm with them and they’re excited to come and coach our kids.”

The camp offers four options for people to choose from: Mini Kicker camp for 3-4 year olds, which runs from 9-10 a.m. and costs $77; First Kicks, for 5-6 year olds, which runs from 10:15-11:45 a.m. and costs $85; a half-day camp for 7-16 year olds, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon and costs $118; and a full-day camp for 8-16 year olds, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $165.

Tolison reminds people that if they decide to sign up for the full-day camp to bring their own lunch.

Participants will also receive a camp T-shirt, soccer ball, player evaluation and soccer poster. People can sign up using WebTrac or by visiting parent central services in Bldg. 5700. The deadline to sign up is May 26, and all children must have a CYSS membership and current youth sports physical.

With already more than 70 people signed up, Tolison said there’s still room for more and the staff is eager to get as much participation as it can in hopes of bringing the camp back year after year.

“We’re just looking for a great time, and for the children to come out and learn some things from those instructors – this is what they do,” said the youth sports director.

The camp comes before the Alabama State Games, which is a qualifier for national tournaments, in which Tolison said Fort Rucker players will participate.

“We’re having the camp come in before the games, so hopefully the kids will be able to learn a few more skills before the competition,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”

People also have the option to host a coach and receive an $80 discount for the camp, but Tolison said the hosting program is not only about saving money – it’s also a chance for a two-way cultural exchange.

“If parents are interested, they can host one or more of the coaches, and show them around post or around the local areas,” he said. “We would love to have all the coaches with families, so that they don’t have to worry about hotel lodging and expenses, and it will make the experience that much more enjoyable.”

For more information, call 255-2257 or 255-2254.

This article was originally published at

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