Meridian Star

June 18, 2013

Learning from the best

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Professional soccer coaches from the United Kingdom where football is king were working hard Monday in the Mississippi humidity teaching youngsters the nuances of the game.

    Led by soccer professionals of UK International, the soccer camp was unique in not only instructing the youngsters from 4-years-old through high school, but it also gave parent-coaches a prime opportunity to learn the coaching and teaching techniques that should help improve their teams.

    Adam Gee, who is the regional director for eight states including Mississippi and is a teaching/coaching professional for UK International Soccer, said each year a small army of professional soccer coaches from England and the United Kingdom come to America to share their knowledge of the game that is No. 1 in much of the world.

    "We are here in Meridian for the first time and we are trying to instill in the players leadership attributes and how to be a team player," Gee said. "Soccer is a game where these children can learn how to be better people overall because it teaches them lessons that will serve them for the rest of their lives."

    The healthy aspects of an active lifestyle is also a huge bonus. Kerri Lagendyk and her husband, Michael, have played soccer most of their lives and their two boys, Brady, 8, and Connor, 6, are following in their footsteps.

    "They just love it," Kerri Lagendyk said as she watches her two boys chasing the ball. "They are active and they are having fun. I've actually noticed how fast they are picking things up from the coaches. It's fun watching them grow in the sport."

    Gee said three to four-hundred soccer coaches go all across America holding these camps, which are not only for the players, but for coaches as well.

    "We have coaching clinics so the parents who coach most of these youth soccer teams can have a better understanding of the game and how it needs to be played," Gee said.

    UK International Soccer Camps, Inc., was established in 1990 and since that time they have become recognized professionalism and commitment to player development.

    Gee said registration for the camp the rest of the week is still open and anyone can come in and get instruction. Sessions for the younger soccer players are held in the morning with high school players hitting the fields in the afternoon and evening.