For my first blog post I thought I’d share with you my visit to Canada. Last week I was invited to Toronto by Lee, founder of Cosmo Soccer Academy, to coach on a one week football camp…well ‘soccer’ as they would call it!
I had the pleasure of working with Paul from Blackburn Rovers and Harry from Crewe FC – both of whom I learned much from and their personalities certainly kept me smiling throughout the week.
It was my first time visiting Toronto which is why I was especially excited. The soccer camp was made up of a mixture of girls and boys from 9 to 15 years old, with many playing for Islington Rangers, their local club.
I spent most of the week coaching the group of girls who were full of laughter, energy and enthusiasm. From them I learned that bibs are actually called ‘pinnies’ and that I should refer to footballs as ‘soccer balls’. Yes, I was corrected on several occasions!!
We faced a heatwave with temperatures soaring to almost 30 degrees, but the girls were well-organised and had the right idea. Bringing their umbrellas meant that during breaks we were well shaded, although at times, the breeze caused flying umbrellas!
Through the week we worked in individual ball skills and the girls had many turns and tricks up their sleeve during 1v1 battles. Their programme also consisted of a range of topics such as dribbling, passing, defending, possession and shooting. Both the girls and boys enjoyed small-sided games and had the opportunity to play in mixed-teams which they thoroughly enjoyed.
The educational element added to the camp was brilliant. This took place as daily seminars in which we spoke about soccer, opportunities for girls in soccer both as a player and off the pitch and had several conversations about possible job opportunities.
The girls asked me about ‘Swaggarlicious’ as they had noticed the logo on my coaching kit and this led to us talking about running your own business and feeling empowered to do so.
Myself, Paul and Harry we were certainly well looked after by Lee and his team. Our evenings were spent at Niagara Falls, dinner at Joey’s, eating ‘real’ Italian ice-cream (according to Vince!), the local mall and seeing Lee and his wife Angela’s new arrival to the family, little Lucy.
We did manage to fit in watching the Olympics…well Paul and Harry did as found myself early to bed!
Coaching on the soccer camp has been extremely valuable and I am thankful to Lee and the team for the knowledge, skills and experience that I have gained.