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U.K. COACHES TEACH CULTURE, SOCCER IN BROOKINGS

England has once again invaded the United States, except this time they are dressed all in blue, carry soccer balls and will be missed by children along the West Coast when they leave.

The Brookings invasion, better known as soccer camp, has been running all week with six coaches from the UK, and 69 Brookings children from the ages of 4 to 13.

The coaches, all part of an international organization aimed at creating cultural ties through teaching soccer, spend a week at a time in communities along the West Coast, living with families and coaching soccer camps.

The organization, known as U.K. International, has 350 coaches across the West Coast.

"It's a great experience," said soccer camp coach Richard Harvey, 25, of the UK. "We are spreading the word of the game."

Harvey, aka Crouchy, has been coaching these camps for a year.

"We get paid," Harvey said. "But that's not why we do it. Really we do it for the kids, They're just exceptional."

Fellow coach Sam "The Man" Green agrees. "We don't do this for the money," Green said. "The kids are amazing," Green said. "They all have great enthusiasm for the game, quite a bit of ability, too."

By Kurt Madar

Pilot staff writer

The coaches are guests of the Brookings-Harbor Soccer League, and are being hosted by the parents of youth in the camp.

When they are not coaching they spend time exploring. For example, Thursday after the camp let out for the day, the coaches golfed Salmon Run golf course.

The Brookings Harbor Soccer League is a non-profit organization that currently boasts a membership of 416 children.

"This is one of the things that the league does to promote both soccer and healthy activities for the kids," said league treasurer Nikki Darger.

According to Soccer League President Ian Leonard, the soccer league has been active for over fifteen years. It is primarily funded by fundraising and registration fees.

This not the first stop on the coaches' itinerary. They have already run week long camps in Jackson and Reno Calif. In Oregon they have been to Portland, Eugene and now Brookings.

"I really love Oregon," said coach Adam Waterson. "It reminds me a lot of the UK: very green."

The week-long camp covers important areas such as fitness for soccer, nutrition for soccer players, strategy, and stretching and cooling down.

At the beginning of the camp, the children are separated into teams that play each other.

The two winning teams then have a playoff on Friday, called the World Cup Finals which starts 45 minutes before the end of Camp.

"(The coaches) are excellent,"Leonard said. "The kids have a great time and the families learn a lot about another culture. It's a great program."

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