Germans host American kids for soccer training
April 9, 2009
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — About 150 American youth spent the past three days of their spring break kicking soccer balls and working on their skills at the training grounds of the FC Kaiserslautern soccer team.
Under the guidance of FCK’s youth coaches, the kids performed shooting, passing and dribbling drills. Some participants were as young as 5, while others were well into their teens. The cost was 150 euros per "camper."
Ending Wednesday, the three-day camp took place at the Sportpark "Rote Teufel," which means "red devil" in English and happens to be the soccer team’s mascot. The kids were separated into different age groups and took full advantage of the facility’s numerous soccer fields.
Damion Patterson, 14, plays soccer at Heidelberg High School and said the camp has been helpful.
"They told us to show much more emotion," he said. "I guess I can do that."
The difference between what football means in Europe and in America was on display Wednesday. During a shooting drill, an American teen booted a soaring shot that sailed well above the tall fence around the field. The high-arcing kick prompted a German coach to respond by saying "Dallas Cowboys."
Lisa Pugh’s two daughters participated in the camp this week and enjoyed it, she said.
"My husband likes to get them involved in everything, and we like it because, well, we’re in Germany," she said. "Even though there are a lot of American kids here, they’re playing with some of the top players [and coaches]. It’s an experience for them. It’s a brilliant thing to do."
The soccer camp is part of a larger effort by FCK to develop a closer relationship with Americans based in Germany, particularly those based in the Pfalz and Baden-Würtemburg areas, officials said. It’s the first time the soccer club has hosted such an event and hopes to do so again.
"It’s a great pleasure to train and coach the kids from the U.S.," said Frank Lelle, director of the training facility.