Children in the Lakes District had a chance to learn and practice soccer skills with professional coaches that brought their international experience to Burns Lake last week.
Approximately 35 children attended this year’s camp, which was held from Aug. 2-6.
Although this was the third year of the camp in Burns Lake, this was the first time that Brett Hyslop, owner of the World Cup Soccer Camp, came to Burns Lake.
Hyslop, who has about 25 years of coaching experience, brought two other coaches with him to Burns Lake – Steph Steiner and a special guest from Ireland, Sean Prizeman.
According to Hyslop, the camp not only provides an opportunity for remote communities to train with professional coaches, but it also provides a valuable cultural exchange.
“Every year I bring someone from a different country with me, so the kids have a chance to see a professional player and a professional coach and realize that soccer is a world game.”
In addition, Hyslop said the coaches teach words in different languages to the players every day of the camp.
“We do a different language every day because we want the kids to understand that soccer is worldwide,” he explained.
“What I am trying to bring is a familiarity… when you realize that if you have a bond to another country playing soccer, you can travel anywhere in the world.”
“I’ve travelled all over the world and all I have to do [to connect with people] is bring a soccer ball,” he added.
The camp wrapped up with a tournament on Saturday where players were divided into different countries, just like in the World Cup.
Donna Franz with the Burns Lake Youth Soccer Association said this was the best soccer camp held in Burns Lake to date.
“It’s all about promoting soccer and realizing that soccer is beyond Burns Lake,” she said. “In Canada it’s such as small part of our culture, but in some countries, soccer is life.”