The first of two Challenger Sports British Soccer camps scheduled for Payson this summer drew 53 aspiring players, ages 3 to 18 years, to daily workouts on the Rumsey Park north field.
The camp opened Monday, June 5 and wraps up today, Friday, June 10.
The second camp will be June 27 to July 1, also at Rumsey Park.
Challenger Soccer debuted in the Rim Country in 2008 and has returned each summer since to provide Rim Country youth a glimpse of what the sport is like in the United Kingdom.
The past week’s camp and the future one feature several skill/age sessions including First Kicks, Mini-Soccer, five Half-Day Development sessions and a Full-Day Development session.
First Kicks is open to aspiring players 3 to 4 years old.
Town of Payson athletic coordinator Mary Wolf said many of the campers who attended the first session were younger athletes still learning the basics of the game.
“I think the older players are having their own camp later on (this summer),” she said.
Campers are introduced to the game basics through fundamental activities, games and fun soccer challenges. The camps are an hour long for five days. Parents are encouraged to join in to help their children.
The Mini-Soccer, for 4- to 5-year-olds, has fun games, competitions and skill-building activities used to help develop budding players. The sessions last for 1-1/2 hours for five days.
In the Half-Day Player Development Camps, emphasis is placed on mastery of core soccer techniques through individual and small group practices and coached games. The sessions are three hours a day for five days.
Full-Day Player Development Camp is aimed at youths 8 to 18. It is a more advanced session for serious players. The curriculum includes game-related techniques, tactical development and coached match play. The sessions run for six hours daily for five days.
The fees are $79 for First Kicks, $94 for Mini-Soccer, $124 for Half Day and $171 for Full Day camp.
During camp week, local families host the international coaches in their homes in return for a discounted price on camp fees.
Challenger officials say this arrangement is one of the more popular facets of Challenger camps because host families have the opportunity to learn more about the UK and soccer, and lasting friendships are usually formed.
Wolf agrees that having local families host coaches is a real plus.
“From what I understand, this group (of coaches) is very low-maintenance,” she said. “They get a place to stay and meals, so it’s good for everyone.”
Online registration may be completed at www.challengersports.com or at the parks and recreation office in Green Valley Park. All campers receive a shirt, camp ball, personal evaluation and an end-of-camp gift.
Call Mary Wolf at (928) 474-5242, extension 7, for more information.