For the seventh summer in a row, the Northwest Iowa Soccer Club brought in the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp. The purpose of the week-long camp is to help develop players on traveling Galaxy teams.
According to the Spencer Daily Reporter, Challenger runs over 3,500 British soccer camps for over 120,000 children each year throughout the Midwest. Challenger coaches Warren Doyle, Nathan Green, Hannah Brindle and Ashley Hill, hosted three-hour sessions twice daily to work with teens in the Spencer area.
Doyle began working with Challenger in the summer of 2009 while in college. Since then, he has returned twice to for the coaching opportunity.
“You’d think back home there’d be a lot of opportunities for coaches. There’s far more here, and your facilities are just fantastic compared to the U.K. That makes our job easier because we can just turn up at the field,” Doyle said. “You’ve got proper goals with nets, and the kids aren’t running about vandalizing the place. That’s pretty much what I’ve experienced across America. Different story back home, unfortunately, but it is what it is I guess.”
Considering that soccer is played by more than 250 million players in over 200 countries around the world, opportunities such as this camp are especially unique.
Challenger Sports also teamed up with the City of Russellville Parks and Recreation to host a week-long soccer camp there as well.
“When I first came in 2009, (soccer) was quite big then but I think subsequent World Cups have massively helped, and the U.S. has really embraced soccer,” Doyle said. “It’s funny because back home if you want to watch a live Premier League game, there are no live games on at 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday when most kickoff times are, yet over here you can watch every game. That to me spoke volumes about the hunger for soccer in America. The best thing for us is it gives us a really good opportunity to coach.”