Coach Owin Whelan organizes the first drill at the South Whidbey soccer camp Thursday. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

Coach Owin Whelan organizes the first drill at the South Whidbey soccer camp Thursday. (Photo by Jim Waller/South Whidbey Record)

European coaches lead South Whidbey soccer camp

British Soccer Camp presented by Challenger Sports made a stop at Langley this week, and coaches Danni Rigby and Owin Whelan liked what they saw.

Rigby, who is from England, said for youngsters in the United States, “it’s about the fun out here; it’s more enjoyable.”

Whelan, who is from Ireland, said European kids take soccer more seriously. There are many more sports in the U.S., he noted, so American youngsters don’t focus on soccer as much as those in Europe.

“Here, it’s good fun,” Whelan said.

That makes coaching in the United States “quite rewarding,” Rigby added.

After nine weeks traveling around the Pacific Northwest coaching different camps, Rigby and Whelan’s tour of duty wraps up with the stop at South Whidbey.

Whelan said the kids at South Whidbey — campers range from 3 to 16 — are more skilled than at most other camps.

“They strike the ball properly,” he said. “You can tell they have played on some teams.”

Rigby praised the South Whidbey Sports complex.

“These are the best fields, the nicest grass, we have seen,” she said.

The Langley camp, offered by the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, ran Monday through Friday, Aug. 6-10, and included five different sessions with kids divided by age.

Henry Queen, 5, also attended the British Soccer Camp held in Anacortes last week.

“I like soccer a lot,” he said. “I like it because I get to practice with my mom and I get to practice with my coaches.”

Damian Morrison, 8, said soccer is his favorite sport.

Earlier this summer, he participated in the Skyhawks Multi-Sports Camp, which included introductions to basketball, baseball, flag football and soccer, but said he enjoys soccer the most because he has been playing it since his birth.

Spencer Jonas, 11, gave baseball camp a try this summer and also plays ultimate frisbee, but favors soccer.

The best part of soccer camp is “doing all the games,” he said.

Jonas added he enjoys the sport because he likes to score goals.

“I also like to block goals when I get to play goalie.”

Soccer is also Landon Thomas’ favorite sport, and he enjoyed the opportunity to watch the recent World Cup.

All of the youngsters, including Thomas, 10, said the best part of camp was playing Lightning, a quick-paced scoring game.

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