Thursday, June 17, 2010

Amidst World Cup, soccer camp hopes to crank up interest in sport

GREENVILLE — After years of speculation, futbol looks to be on the rise. No, not the American version that has captured the attention of viewers worldwide for numerous years, but the game that traces its ties as far back as 1004 B.C. — soccer.
According to the reports, World Cup ratings on ESPN and ABC for the first five games doubled from 2006, averaging a whopping 4.9 million viewers — up a whopping 108 percent from 2006.
In the midst of the sudden interest in the sport, which for years was unable to capture the interest of casual American sports fans, the Greenville YMCA along with England native instructor Ed Callaghan will be holding the Callaghan English Soccer Camp June 21-25 at the GYSA soccer fields on Bowman Road. The camp will be from 9 a.m. - noon for those age 5-14 and 5 - 8 p.m. for 15-18 year olds. The fee will be $105 for ‘Y’ members and $130 for non-members. Campers are asked to bring a soccer ball, water, shin guards and sunscreen.
Callaghan believes the interest in soccer can be attributed the ever-growing world of media.
“The general awareness is a lot more aware because of Fox soccer channels, Spanish channels, a lot more ESPN World Cup qualifying games, the International Cup, and there’s always a live showing which wasn’t the case 10 to 15 years ago. said the veteran coach who has lived in the U.S. for the last 19 years, before playing semi-pro soccer from 1987-91 in England.
“The more you’re on TV, the better,” he added. “Players get a chance to find their own heroes in soccer.”
This will be the third year Callaghan has come to town for the camp. Last year, he said there were about 63 total campers.
“Last year it was hot and humid, which might have put some people off,” Callaghan said.
Callaghan, who is a U.S.S.F. “A” licensed coach — the highest ranking available, has held camps for the last 19 years, and also holds the event annually in another Mississippi town: Petal. The camp has been held throughout the country in Georgia, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida — among other places.
Although he’s been in the states for nearly two decades, Callaghan jokes about one characteristic he just can’t shake.
“I still have my accent,” he said by phone while at camp at Arizona.
For more information about the camp, contact Allison Mullen at 662-335-7258 or check out

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