sChallenger British Soccer Camp in fourth year in Socorro, has record attendance

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Three-year-olds learned to jump over balls, working on balance, agility and coordination. Meanwhile, soccer camp participants ages 6 through 16 were coloring their soccer balls, getting placed into teams and scrimmaging within their respective age groups. The 4- and 5-year-olds played earlier Tuesday morning.

Photos by Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain: The team of coaches, hailing mostly from England, have a little fun at the end of the day’s program, part of the Challenger British Soccer Camp hosted by the local region of the American Youth Soccer Organization. The camp runs all week at Sedillo Park.

All this is part of the weeklong American Youth Soccer Organization Region 364 soccer camp known as the Challenger British Soccer Camp, held in Socorro for the fourth year. AYSO Region 364 coordinates the camp, and it is hosted by the city of Socorro.

“It’s an amazing experience for the kids and I can’t say enough about it,” Kim Gonzales, regional coordinator for the AYSO Region 364, said.

The camp runs from July 22 through 26 at Sedillo Park. Different age groups attend at different times, with the largest group, ages 6 to 16 years old attending from 9 a.m. to noon.

The camp typically has between 50 and 75 young athletes. This year, there are 85 young athletes, ages 3 to 13, participating in the half-day camp, and approximately 15 middle and high school boys participating in the high school boys soccer team camp in the evening from 6 to 8 p.m.

The AYSO Region 364 pays part of the registration fees for early registrants, and encourages participation from youth of all ages and skill levels.

“Our town really does have an amazing soccer program,” Gonzales said. “Sometime sit’s hard for small communities to put together teams that can compete with big city club teams or competitive AYSO teams. Socorro does it year after year. I credit the success to some very dedicated kids and amazing coaches and parents.”

Challenger Sports runs over 3,500 professionally staffed summer camps and year-round coaching programs for players or all ages and abilities.

Socorro’s Challenger camp includes fun activities for all ages, including Wacky Wednesday when the players can attend in wacky clothes and hairstyles, and participate in a “parade” of participants. They are grouped into teams, according to age, and they can win “World Cup points toward winning the World Cup at the end of the week.