It’s the date many hundreds of sport-mad kids on Grand Bahama have looked out for at this time of year for the last 10 years – the start date of the island’s annual English Premier League Soccer Camp.
And this year, the 10th year in a row the world’s best-supported sports league has given its name to the event, it will begin on June 23, running as usual for five days, ending on June 27.
It will be the usual mix of top-line professional coaches flown in from the UK, top quality free uniforms, and other goodies which have made it the best-value summer camp in Freeport.
Three coaches from the Football Association, the soccer governing body in the UK, will again be taking vacation and volunteering their time to ensure that camp participants not only learn new skills, sportsmanship, and team playing, but also have a great time.
The three are specialists. Their full-time jobs are not just coaching soccer, but coaching children. They are Jenna Martin, Robbie Pringle, and Abbie Sadler, and each is excited to be coming.
Abbie, pictured in a training session, has coached in the US as well as the UK and said: “I can’t wait for the week to begin. I am very much looking forward to the trip and all the experiences it will bring. Working with children, and especially coaching, is something I am very passionate about.
“ I enjoy seeing the children not only improve their footballing skills but also develop as people, gain confidence and improve their self esteem. It is great to deliver sessions with both boys and girls with varying abilities, all of which go on to either join local clubs or academies or go away having enjoyed their footballing experience, met new friends and developed their social skills.”
Her thoughts were echoed by Robbie Pringle who said: “”I enjoy watching children grow, learn and develop not only as players but people as well.”
The Sir Jack Hayward Soccer Camp as it is now known will mean all of the trio making their first visit to the Bahamas. Sir Jack, honorary chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, has been a great supporter of the camp in various ways and is himself a very keen devotee of soccer.
He was for a time owner of a Premier League team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, which unfortunately was relegated the season before the first EPL camp was held.
The camp will as usual be hosted by the Freeport Rugby and Football Club at their fields on East Settlers Way, Freeport. Many local soccer-playing kids are very familiar with the venue since the club also hosts hundreds of girl players in the Girls’ Development League every Saturday afternoon and the club’s own boys coaching sessions during the week.
The daily sessions will begin at 9am and finish at 3pm with lunch provided, along with chance to take a cooling mid-day dip in the club’s swimming pool. Registration forms will be available in a week or so’s time at the usual venues of Town and Country, Yellow Pine Street; and Animale, Port Lucaya Marketplace as well as at the club itself. They will also be available on this website.