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Chester County Press

Youngsters learn to play the world's most popular sport at Crossan Park

09/17/2015 10:09AM ● By Richard Gaw

Coaches Rory Harding, from London, and Kieran Nicol, from Scotland, taught the youngsters the basics of soccer.

By Steven Hoffman
Staff Writer

Crossan Park was the location for a Challenger Sports’ British Soccer Camp for one week in August.

Youngsters from throughout the area learned the basics of soccer, the world’s most popular sport, under the tutelage of coaches Rory Harding, from London, and Kieran Nicol, from Scotland.

The Challenger Sports Soccer Camp is based on one of the most innovative approaches to coaching youth soccer in the U.S. and Canada. Each year, Challenger Sports selects coaches from around the world to lead camp programs. An overwhelming majority of the coaches are British. There are programs for each age level, and the curriculum includes a variety of foot skills, technical drills, and tactical practices. The players also learn about the core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship, and leadership.

 Harding said that he welcomed the challenge of teaching the basics of soccer to young people in the U.S. The camp utilizes proven training techniques that are also fun for the youngsters. One day, the focus will be on dribbling, another day will focus on shooting, and another day will find the players learning how to pass the ball.

Harding, who does a lot of coaching in his home country, said that soccer has been a lifelong pursuit of his.

“I’ve been playing soccer since the age of four,” he explained, adding that he likes teaching the sport that he loves to any youngster who is interested in it.

Harding said that he sees American youngsters becoming more and more interested in soccer, especially after the recent success of the U.S. men’s team and the U.S. women’s soccer team that won the World Cup title.

“There is a lot of excitement, you see it wherever you go,” Harding explained.

Soccer is a very popular sport among U.S. youngsters, especially after strong showings in World Cup action.

 The Avon Grove Recreation Association (AGRA) served as the host of the camp. Cheryl Doyle, the coordinator for AGRA, said that a representative from Challenger Sports reached out more than a year earlier to see if they could work together to bring the soccer camp to the area. She was immediately enthusiastic about having AGRA play a role in bringing the camp to the area, especially since soccer is a very popular sport with families in the community.

“I wanted the kids to have the opportunity to do the camp,” Doyle explained.

More information about other camps offered by Challenger Sports can be found at

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email

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