Vernon once again hosted the highly qualified coaches of European Football School (EFS) in what has become a regular stop on their annual province-wide coaching tour.
A total of 40 players from Salmon Arm to Kelowna attended a four-day camp at MacDonald Park, learning the technical, tactical, physical and mental aspects of the game.
While the smoke played havoc with most other outdoor activities last week, it was no match for the determination and enthusiasm of those wanting to improve their soccer game.
Vernon’s Ian Murphy, camp co-ordinator and academy manager of Da Rua Futsal Club, said the training was tailored to the age of the player and the local conditions with emphasis placed on technical and tactical components and minimal physical exertion when conditions interfered.
Started by Saibo Talic in the 1990s after his unplanned arrival in Canada from his native Yugoslavia, EFS has grown by leaps and bounds based on their ability to deliver first-class coaching with measurable results. Operating as a supplemental coaching organization, the school through Saibo, and now his son, Amar, and their contingent of internationally certified coaching staff, have been responsible for countless youngsters realizing their dreams of playing in some of Europe’s biggest stadiums.
Previous generations that have passed through the hands of the Talics include Daniel Fernandes who was playing in partial obscurity in Vancouver, passed over by the local MLS team, but with guidance and dedication from EFS, played for Portugal in the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Said Murphy: “Encouraging kids to dream and pursue their dreams is what it’s all about and what better way is there to show that, than through a real-life example like Daniel or the countless others that have been through the EFS system. In addition to the delivery of high-level training, EFS coaches also use these opportunities to identify promising talent that they then expose to international competition through tours and tournaments.”
Said Amar Talic: “I am most impressed by the talent there is in youth soccer in Vernon. In fact, the Interior of the province has proven to be a gold mine of talent for us in the past as witnessed by our most recent trip to the U.S. and Europe where we had 15 players from Salmon Arm, six players from Kamloops, six from Williams Lake, three from Whistler/Pemberton and two from Quesnel be a part of our touring squads.”
Murphy tabbed them as a huge success with every player taking away something whether it was a tactical improvement or a technical nugget to increase their enjoyment of the game.
Said Ben Clerke, who can’t wait to score his first bicycle goal in a game: “Keep practising and never give up.”