The Valley Choppers’ James Roksa picks up a hitchhiker in the Choppers’ final game of the season on April 13 at Tzeachten (“Chak ten”) field in Chilliwack. The Choppers put on a strong effort against the perennial favourite Timberwood Young Guns — but lost 2-0. The Choppers host drop-in soccer sessions throughout the summer at Hope Secondary field

Hope recreation centre offers British Soccer Camp

Program helps players improve skills through a variety of drills and practices

Like Canadians and ice hockey, the Brits are credited with starting the game of football — or soccer in these parts — so it’s only fitting that they should be the ones to help spread the game to other lands.

The British Soccer Camp touts themselves as the No. 1 soccer camp program  in North America, with over 110,000 boys and girls expected to take part in their camps this summer.

And the camp is coming to Hope.

“They contacted me to see if we’d be interested in sponsoring the camp, and help to organize a field, which was easy,” said recreation programmer Kim Richardson on Monday. “They will be using the Hope Secondary field. It sounds like it could be a good program, so I hope it will go.”

The rec centre is not involved in taking registrations. That needs to be done at the soccer camp website, challengersports.com.

“I’ve received a few emails from people who have registered,” said Richardson, “ but I don’t know if I have all the names so far.”

The camp runs Monday to Friday, July 16 to 20. Full day programs for age seven to 16 players run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost $189, down to a daily one-hour course for three and four year-olds which costs $84.

Company contacts were not available for comment by press time — but their camp info says the program will feature “the 1,000 Touches Curriculum, packed with new drills and practices designed to improve individual ball control, footskills, fakes and moves.”

The moves include “20 different ways to turn, fake and beat your opponents” and on the defensive end, players will learn “to take the ball away from opponents and basic team defense.”

Especially at the younger ages, activities are built into fun games that practice the basic skills.

British Soccer Camp offers various incentives for participants. For one, a family could host a coach in their home. This helps keep the company’s cost down — and the company acknowledges this by giving an $80 discount off a child’s enrolment fee.

Players who sign up at least 45 days prior to the camp will receive a free jersey, in addition to the free T-shirt and soccer ball that each camp member receives.

Procrastinators who register nine days or less before the camp will pay an extra $10 fee.

As with all programs, registration numbers will need to be sufficient to bring the organizers to town — so the earlier you register, the better it is for everyone.

Richardson added that the rec centre will be offering an Xplore Sportz week, August 20-24, as part of their Summer Fun Program.

“It’s offered through PacificSport,” said Richardson. “For four days, we’re offered four different coaches for four different sports.

“We don’t know yet which sports will be offered but we’d be looking at things like gymnastics, softball and possibly soccer, with kids working with a coach who is an expert in their field.”

That program would run from 1-2:30 p.m.

* * * *

In Hope Minor Soccer news, president Bruce Becker says that 170 players are registered for the kindergarten to Grade 7 league, which meets on the Hope Secondary field on Saturdays mornings. Older players also get another session on Wednesday evenings.

“It’s one of our higher registrations,” said Becker, “though we had 200 a few years ago.”

The K-1 group has four teams and the Grade 2-4s have six teams, as do the Grade 5-7s. All groups play small-sided games on the three mini-fields, which can fit inside a full-size soccer pitch.

Becker thanked the students and parents who help coach the teams, including parents Rob Tiessen and Michael Soucker and HSS student Blake Deschenes, who each take on two teams.

“Blake’s sister, Rachel, [a grad this year] is in her last year with us and she’s been helping out for many years,” said Becker.

“We’ll keep going until May 26, when we have our annual parent versus kids games, which are always fun.”

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