YORK, Pa. – Head coach Mark Ludwig and the York College men's soccer team recently concluded the annual Spartan soccer camps, drawing more than 300 participants from ages 8 to 18.
"This was another quality year for our camps," Ludwig commented. "The kids were tremendous and hats off to each of the instructors for doing a great job."
Highlighting the camp instruction, a trio of foreign coaches brought their tremendous experience and knowledge to York. Stuart Leicester and Zeki Istanbul of Manchester United's youth and community system and Gonzalo Bexiga of Benfica's youth system imparted their knowledge on groups of eager campers. Manchester United, based out of Manchester, England, is one of the world's top clubs and is the reigning champion of one of Europe's best league's – the Barclay's Premiership. Benfica is Portugal's largest club and may be best known in the U.S. for signing American phenom Freddy Adu during the summer of 2007.
During their stay, York College athletic communications intern Brent Duffy had the opportunity to sit down with the three coaches and talk about their experience.
Duffy: What brings you to York?
Leicester: I came over to work for YPT (Youth Professional Training) with John Fisher who knows Coach Mark Ludwig through coaching. Working with John's camps, Ludwig offered me to stay and work his camps. I started four years ago and have really enjoyed it, the people, the kids. I feel really taken care of and with the top facilities this is a great opportunity.
Duffy: What are some common traits among American players?
Istanbul: The attitude of the kids is great. They are polite, have a good work ethic, and listen to what you say. Sometimes they are almost too polite.
Leicester: They are really able to get themselves up for the next session. The kids manage it well and that is a testament to the American people.
Duffy: What are you hoping to teach while you are here?
Bexiga: Decision-making. During the game you are presented with situations and there can be flaws in decision-making. (These players) are good athletes and have good technique but they need (to learn) to make good decisions.
Istanbul: We have such a short time at camp, we want to give them pointers and allow them to take little things away. It's good for them to get a taste of something new from someone new.
Leicester: Influence them to practice at home, to get the hours in themselves. I have not driven past anywhere during my time in the U.S. and seen kids playing unorganized (soccer) in the park. It is important to go home and do things to improve tactically and technically.