SANDY GRENIER PHOTO

SANDY GRENIER PHOTO

World Cup soccer camp hits the North Island

World Cup soccer camp has been visiting the North Island for more than 25 years.

Brett Hyslop of World Cup Soccer Camp, based out of Victoria, brought his camp and four exceptional coaches to the North Island for yet another year this past week July 24-28.

The camp has been visiting the North Island for more than 25 years and Steph Steiner, one of the main coaches, shared with everyone on Friday that he personally has been attending the North Island camp himself for 25 years.

This year, the camp definitely saw a decline in numbers from recent years. Between Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Sointula they had about 80 registrants, which is down from the more than 120 in years past. In order for this long time running soccer camp to continue to come to the North Island they need the numbers to be stronger.

Despite the smaller camps held in each of the three communities, it didn’t stop the soccer players attending from having fun and improving on their soccer skills all week with the five coaches. One of the coaches was Port Hardy’s Tony Saavedra, who has been coaching for World Cup for the past three years and also coaches soccer teams for Port Hardy Youth Soccer.

This year’s guest coach, Andres Sanchez, was from Mexico and thoroughly enjoyed his first visit to the North Island. Former 11 year World Cup Soccer Camp registrant Jaylon Grenier took Steiner and Sanchez down to the Bear Cove dock to show them their first live squid that are currently in the area. While they were there for less than an hour, Sanchez also saw his first bald eagle and seal. They also squeezed in a quick visit to the Government dock to see the S.A.L.T.’s ships here from Victoria.

The weather for the week was perfect for the camps, including the annual wrap up World Cup tournament that was held in Port McNeill on Friday.

All the registrants from each community gathered together for a warm up, round robin games, semi-finals, and the final game with young and older players divided equally into different countries. The games in the past have been played to loud music through the amp and speakers but technical difficulties and a blown amp made that tricky.

Despite calling around and trying to find a last minute back up amp, they instead improvised and played their music through vehicle speakers parked at the soccer field. Quieter music didn’t stop the 80 soccer players from having fun and playing their hearts out.

Brasil ended up being the champs after winning a close final game.

All participants left the camp Friday with smiles on their faces after another week of soccer, along with camp t-shirts. As they were all leaving, some players could be heard already asking their parents if they can sign up again next year. Each community will need more than 25 registrants for a minimum number in order for the camp to continue to visit the North Island, spreading the word and planning around the camp definitely helps. “This camp has always been a great positive way of bringing another week of soccer for the youth in the North Island when the house league has wrapped up, but we need to keep the numbers up to keep them coming back. This was our 13 year participating for our family and our kids have always loved the camp and the fun coaches,” said Port Hardy organizer Sandy Grenier.

The camp usually takes place during the last week of July in the three communities mentioned above for a fee of $115 for the week. For more information when registration takes place next year visit www.worldcupsoccercamp.com.

– Gazette staff

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SANDY GRENIER PHOTO

SANDY GRENIER PHOTO

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