That’s a message Ewen Fisher was trying to spread to budding minor soccer players from the west coast who participated in the Vancouver Whitecaps FC youth soccer camp taking place this week at the Wellington Street Sports Complex.
Fisher, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, is head coach for the Whitecaps Northern Academy Centre based in northern British Columbia and was busy all week putting players from all over the west coast through a series of drills in an effort to help them become better players.
He said coaches can only provide the instruction and show them how to be a complete player on the field, but he insists players must be kicking the ball around when they are at home because repetition is key and every chance they can handle the ball with pressure applied to them it’s in their best interest if they want to take their game to the next level.
Kicking around a smaller ball, even if it means getting a family member to go one-on-one with while away from the field is what he hopes the players take away from the five days of soccer they absorbed this week.
“If they want to become better soccer players that’s what they need to do because as coaches we can guide them tactically and help them understand the game, but it’s up to the players themselves if they want to be committed to the game in any sport is to go home and practice,” Fisher said Thursday afternoon as he put a group through a series of drills.
Beth Skeard, a 13-year-old Corner Brook native who has been playing soccer for nine years, loves the game and it’s her only sport. So getting a chance to learn from some pretty qualified coaches didn’t require any arm twisting.
“I think it’s awesome. It’s a great experience, especially for the little kids because they get to learn from pretty much professionals,” Skeard said.
She was impressed with how the coaches handled the various groups and feels she’s a lot more knowledgeable about the game because she was taught a lot of new techniques and gave her a better understanding of where she should be on the field at various times during the game.
“It’s going to help you play better because you know more about where you’re suppose to be on the field and how to move the ball up to the net,” she said.
Markus Spingle was one of the more active guys handling the ball during a drill being conducted by coach Craig Angus and he was happy he made the commitment to the camp.
Spingle has spent four days under the watchful eye of the coaching staff and he already seen an improvement in his passing and dribbling so he was a happy camper.
“It’s been a really good experience,” he said. “They are really good teachers and they have helped us out a lot.”