The Freeport Rugby and Football Club’s (FRFC) Sir Jack Hayward Football (Soccer) Camp served its purpose yet again, July 1-5, in delivering a well-rounded approach to teaching the game of soccer.
With qualified coaches in Robbie Pringle, Abbie Sadler, both from the United Kingdom (UK), and Joshua Horne and Alex Guyer from the United States (USA), the 100 campers that showed up for the one-week camp received a wealth of instruction and advice from the visiting coaches.
For FRFC President Rob Speller, it was important to make the camp more affordable than in previous years. With a number of opportunities made available to the campers, the FRFC President felt the registrants of the camp took full advantage of the five-day setting.
“This year was our 16th camp involving the FA/Premier League and has to be considered as one of the most successful.
“Due to the economy on the island, we reduced the fee for the camp to $100 for the entire week, which covered professional coaching, full soccer kit, lunch and snacks and a water bottle. We also gave out more scholarships than previous years due to some very kind corporate sponsors.
“We had around 100 kids this year ranging from seven to 16 years old and all the boys and girls have really enjoyed the camp. Despite the warm weather they all were well behaved and learned from the overseas coaches,” he shared.
Prior to the camp, Speller voiced it was important that the campers maintained a serious focus to their development and that it was important for them to see a day-by-day improvement in their skills.
“Players need to have the right work rate and discipline to really develop,” said Speller. “They must love training and seeing themselves progress in the process.”
Robbie Pringle, who led the group of guest coaches, made his fifth visit to the camp and voiced he had another exciting week with the local athletes. He added that the continued support from the Rugby Club showed just how much the local Rugby Association cares for the development of the younger kids.
“We love working with these kids. We love coming to the Rugby Club and getting the support from the Rugby Club, who have a real care for the kids, and putting on a real good experience for them for five days where they come and play football and develop their skills.
“Not just their football skills but their social skills - the different things they get from working with the coaches. It’s always a pretty exciting time for us, and the sunshine is always good as well.”
Pringle furthered that he and Sadler have spent numerous times working with elite level talent in England and working at the grassroots level. The combination of the European and American approaches to football (soccer) was something Pringle felt was a wholesome way to diversify the learning elements of the sessions.
“We had U.S. coach Alex Guyer come out for the second year in a row and we’ve got Josh Horne who is here for his first time at camp. They both work in college football.
“What we do with those coaches, from those different experiences we work with groups. We like to mix the groups, so the players get to work with different coaches at different times. So, they got a good mix of different kinds of approaches from all styles of delivery from the UK and then also from the U.S.
“We also get help from the local coaches, which is a big a help. It’s a real good collective effort from across the water in the UK and the U.S. and also from the folks here on the island as well.”
From the UK’s side of coaching, Pringle shared that their training was based on in-game situations.
“The big thing in the UK at the moment is trying to keep things related to the game. So, we don’t do a lot of isolated skills and technique work. We try to do that work within the games.
“So, you’d see a lot of stuff like one versus one drill, where they’re trying to score goals or a lot of three versus three and four versus four to develop them tactically and technically at the same time. So, they will develop the technical skills (passing), but with a tactical edge (strategy) to it.
“It helps to give them a broader experience within those games as much as possible,” he concluded.