Sunday, July 10, 2011

WHUIA National Camp 2011 - Rome, GA - Day 1

Like a scene from an epic Ridley Scott movie, the West Ham United IA National Camp rolled triumphantly into the heart of Rome.
Rome, Georgia.
And who needs Russell Crowe when you have the likes of Paul Heffer, Ian Bishop, Mark Phillips, Tracey Duxbury, Ian Yuill etc.

Let's give you a run down of the day - starting 6:30am at the fabulous Darlington School, Rome GA.

Unpacking kit. 
Each player and coach gets two sets of Macron kit, that's shorts and shirts. Also included is water bottle, bag, soccer ball etc.
So with around 200 players and coaches you can do the math.
I feel sorry for the little old Italian woman who packs these shirts and shorts in Bologna. Still, must be a better earner than making pasta every day.

Mike will insist I take this out.
Still, for the few hours of 'freedom' this picture has I'll take the chance. Flip-flops. An essential purchase at the best of times. One can exist without many of life's luxuries, however the flip-flop is and should be in any person's top 5 essential items.
Others include: toothbrush / iphone / West Ham towel / a front door key to your mum's house. (notice strange man trying to ski in background)

While shopping at Kroger I am distressed to read this courageous news report. I am still shocked and am saddened by the lack of Oprah to a) investigate further / b) interview the Yeti. I assume this article is about legendary giants rather than The Giants. There were other articles too shocking to report on in this blog. Children and my mum may be reading.

On a more serious note, we feel the clock ticking as the UK based coaches, Paul, Tracey, Ian and Mark, arrive at 11:25am - followed by 100 talented and enthusiastic soccer players from Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Mexico, Minnesota, Canada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Florida etc.

Darlington School - Rome, GA.
It's a beautiful private school with boarding options that has been around for 105 years. It has outstanding soccer facilities and is home to it's own Academy which is driven to preparing HS players for College soccer. Last year all but three of the players graduating made it to high level NCAA soccer programs.

Coaches Meeting
Paul Heffer (Assistant Director WHU Academy)
Ian Yuill (Technical Skills Director WHU Academy)
Tracey Duxbury (WHU Ladies First Team player / U16 Coach)
Mark Phillips (U13 WHU Academy Coach),
Ian, Craig, James, Goucho, Brian, Eric et al...

Tour of the facilities.
Knockout location - 2 dorms, a walkway tunnel under the road to a palatial athletic facility and great soccer fields. Everyone is happy - promises to be a great week.

Below the Academy Coaches head over to registration.


Disaster averted as Ian tracks down a pair of indoor soccer shoes.

Mistie and Kyle look after us - even though we are strangely English. Mistie endures an arduous back and forth as Ian contemplates the pros and cons of the Adidas Samba shoe. After 40 or so flick ups he decides to make the deal. We are grateful to Hibbett Sports - 1456 Turner McCall Blvd SW - Rome, Georgia. (706) 235-3132.

4:30pm The opening - a great crowd for introductions - the start of the WHUIA National Camp 2011


5:00pm Coaching begins.
5:10pm The siren sounds and lightning threatens. It's inside for a 30 minute wonder session on tecnical skills with Ian Yuill.


So finally, we get outside and run the coaching sessions adding an extra 30 mins to make up the delay. This is the group of 10 / 11 year olds that James and I are coaching. A decent bunch with some familiar faces such as Alejandro from partner club Rio Vista in Albuquerque, NM. Across the fields Ian and Mark are coaching the next group up, Ian and Paul have the oldest boys and Tracey and coaches are working with the girls. I'm proud to see two players from my school, The International School of Indiana, represented here - Stefano and Josi. It really adds another dimension when there are players from your own club or school (ISI is one of only 3 schools in the USA who are partners). I also see Matt, Colin, Halie and Madyson from Mississauga, Canada and Tom from Rio Vista -  All great hardworking and smart kids.

It's a massive dinner hall with just about about every option on hand. Just to prove it here is a picture of the condiment options. I mean, seriously, it includes Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla). I am designing a fusion powered quantum particle transporter to re-locate the building in Indianapolis. Condiments too.

It's 11:30pm. Players are asleep, as are my four, Henry, Ella, Hannah and Jilly back home. Tomorrow proves to be a great day - I'll include more technical coaching clips and dialogue - as well as a sneak preview into Ian Yuill's technical coaching program - which could be a development for any club around the USA. Details tomorrow.

Oh, last thought for the day. England. World Cup. Penatlies.
I never saw that one coming.........and that's a lie.


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