Soccer camp offers international flair 1

Fin Peters of Challenger Sports works with local kids Tuesday morning at Meadowlark Fields as part of the Challenger Sports soccer camp held this week in Buffalo. The week will end with one of the teams winning the World Cup.

Future Buffalo soccer stars are taking to Meadowlark Fields this week, as international coaches from Challenger Sports work with players to help develop the techniques they will need to help them to the next level in the sport.

Fin Peters from England and Ryan Nunes from Brazil have spent the last few weeks around Colorado and Wyoming working with players ages 5-14-years old as they look to develop athletes who could end up making a big difference on the pitch.

“In just the first day, I have seen some really good players here,” Peters said. “With the younger kids we are working more on the fundamentals of the game and building confidence. With the older kids we can get more tactical as well as teach the fundamentals.”

Peters is working toward a degree in coaching soccer in his native England. It’s a program that can eventually earn him a master’s degree and covers everything from psychology to event management to sports science.

It’s his first time visiting the United States and working with youngsters here who are eager to get a few tips from a culture that lives and breathes soccer.

“The young players here seem to be similar to those in England, just with some slight differences that come with the culture,” Peters said. “For these kids it’s about teaching them ball control and dribbling and getting comfortable with the ball at their feet. Later on we focus more on shooting, but it can be one of the things the younger kids struggle with.”

The kids spend the early parts of the days split by age group, going through skills and tactics. After a break they are divided into teams and compete in a tournament throughout out the week referred to as the World Cup.

“In England the sport has been popular for ages. I see it still growing in America but growing quickly,” Peters said. “The U.S. women’s team winning the World Cup and having so much success has really helped with the popularity of the sport and the camps.”

In the afternoons the camp is whittled down to handful of players who have signed on for one-on-one attention to work on technique.

And for those players looking to gain an advantage after camp is over, the coach has a little advice that will come in handy.

“Play as much you can, but also watching the game is huge,” Peters said. “When you get a little older watch as much as you can live if you can’t find it on T.V. You can watch an older brother or sister play and get as comfortable as you can with the rules and how the game is played. It will make a difference.”

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