One thing I noticed sitting in Manchester Airport was how relaxed I felt compared to 12 months earlier. Thinking back it was quite nerve wracking! I remember asking myself daft questions: What happens if I miss my connecting flight? What will it be like staying with a host family? Looking back I needn’t have worried but I suppose it is only natural.
This time round it was different. I was cool, calm and collected and looking forward to another summer in the USA!
The journey wasn’t too bad either, Manchester to Sacramento with a stop off in the capital, Washington DC sandwiched in between. Once I touched down in Texas I was straight out to Reno, Nevada which I was very excited about. Not only is it a “mini Las Vegas” with soccer pitches surrounded by spectacular casinos it is the home of my favourite host family: the Brown’s. I had stayed with Dustin and Kirstin and their 4 soccer mad children the previous year and they were fantastic, really making me feel part of the family. So much so I brought Dustin an EFC shirt. It’s safe to say the Browns have been chosen and they are officially Evertonians!
The first camp was bigger than any I had coached on the summer before with 12 coaches and 200 children. On the first day all the children received a t-shirt and soccer ball and whilst they were signing in I decided to show my initiative by setting up an interactive warm up, where children were set the task of doing “keepy ups”. There was a wide range in the children’s ability so I quickly set about progressing the task for the more able children asking them to use different parts of their body such as their thighs and head. I love the first day of camp there is always such a buzz as the children are so excited.
Over the last year my coaching has progressed massively gaining vast experience in primary schools with LLS and further qualifications such as my FA Youth Modules which combined to make me more confident in my ability and eager to show what I could do. My favourite session of the week was ball manipulation which was ideal for the children I was coaching as they were new to soccer and it gave them the perfect opportunity to have lots of touches of the ball. In keeping with my knowledge acquired from the Youth Modules I challenged each player individually which I think definitely helped them to develop.
The rest of the week was amazing with the children on camp loving every minute and progressing as players too which is always good to see. The Brown’s hospitality was as good as ever as we visited the batting cages, mini golf and go-karting as well as the malls. One bit of advice I would give to coaches making their first trip Stateside would be, don’t take a suitcase full of clothes, which I made the mistake of doing last year. Whilst over here you visit loads of malls and it’s best to take a relatively empty case which allows you to take new clothes home. That was my strategy this year and after one week I’m on my way to filling the case!
Next week I’m in a town called Sparks which isn’t far, just a 20 minute drive. If the rest of the summer is like my first week I will be delighted!
Sam Wynne
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