Van­cou­ver White­caps soc­cer camp comes to a close in Har­bour Grace

Pro team and NLSA see bright fu­ture for col­lab­o­ra­tion

The Compass - - Sports - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

HAR­BOUR GRACE, NL — The Van­cou­ver White­caps FC Youth Camp kicked off its last day in Har­bour Grace this past Fri­day.

The camp, which is ded­i­cated to train­ing young peo­ple in­ter­ested in soc­cer, takes place all across the coun­try, with some camps scat­tered through­out New­found­land in Cor­ner Brook, St. John’s, and Har­bour Grace.

Both the CBN Light­ning and the Van­cou­ver White­caps, in part­ner­ship with the New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion, hosted the camp in Har­bour Grace.

Ewan Fisher is one of the head coaches for the camp’s Acad­emy Cen­tre based out of Bri­tish Columbia, along­side fel­low coach Craig An­gus. Fisher told The Compass that the camp’s week long stint in Har­bour Grace was very suc­cess­ful, and that he has high hopes for next year.

“Our goal here in New­found­land is to in­spire th­ese kids to main­tain their pas­sion for the sport,” said Fisher. “You know, prac­tice as much as pos­si­ble, and not just while they’re here, but when they’re at home as well. Prac­tice with the ball, get used to the game, and most im­por­tantly, en­joy your­self. We’re here to de­velop them, yes, but we’re here to in­spire them, first and fore­most.”

Fisher, who calls Glas­gow, Scot­land his home, added that their time in New­found­land has been one of the best out of all their trav­els.

“It’s been an ab­so­lutely amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “The hos­pi­tal­ity, and the peo­ple here in New­found­land – amaz­ing. I’ve been run­ning camps like this for sev­eral years now, and the kind­ness ev­ery­one here has shown, and the will­ing­ness from the kids to learn, it’s been un­be­liev­able. We can’t wait to come back.”

To com­mem­o­rate their last day in the area, the camp hosted games be­tween the kids, who com­peted for a world cup – small tro­phies topped with a white soc­cer ball.

The two tro­phies were to be dis­persed be­tween the younger and older groups, some­thing Fisher said he hoped would put a smile on the faces of the kids on their last day at the camp.

Dur­ing the camp’s last day, the St. Fran­cis field was dec­o­rated with ban­ners, flags, as well as the smil­ing faces of proud par­ents watch­ing their chil­dren, di­vided into four dif­fer­ent pitches, mas­ter the sport.

Damian Master­son is the vice-pres­i­dent of NLSA. He said that he feels as though the fu­ture for this camp is bright, not­ing that he can only see it get­ting big­ger and big­ger each year, and hopes to see eight pitches on the field next year.

“We’re ex­cited to see it grow,” Master­son told The Compass. “Now that the camp’s gone through its first week, I think the num­bers are go­ing to dou­ble next year. I think there are sev­eral par­ents who may have been a bit skep­ti­cal at first, but hav­ing seen what the camp is all about and what it does for the kids and com­mu­nity, they’ll be ex­cited to take ad­van­tage of it next year.”

The growth of the camp is some­thing that tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor for NLSA is also ex­cited for. Dra­gan Mirkovic has held his po­si­tion with the as­so­ci­a­tion for nearly two decades, and said he sees great things for the fu­ture of the camp. He told The Compass that the sport it­self is what brings peo­ple to­gether on the same level.

“There are peo­ple here from Scot­land, Sin­ga­pore, China, and for what? For soc­cer,” Mirkovic said with a proud smile. “It’s the same sport ev­ery­where, no mat­ter where you’re from, and it’s some­thing ev­ery­one un­der­stands. It’s not about your home, or your coun­try, it’s about lov­ing the game.”

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COMPASS

The chil­dren tak­ing part in this year’s camp are trained by some of the best to hone their skills with a soc­cer ball.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COMPASS

Proper foot­work and ball han­dling skills are things that the Van­cou­ver White­caps hope sticks with the young play­ers.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COMPASS

The chil­dren spent a week prac­tic­ing with Van­cou­ver White­caps of­fi­cials.

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