Coach Philipp and Coach Faruk's Soccer Camp Blog
Philipp Schneider and Faruk Kulikoglu traveled to Elverson, Pennsylvania, and started the first of two soccer camps for boys and girls at Twin Valley High School on July 5.
Saturday, July 30
Enlarge image (© germany.info) Our visit to the U.S. has unfortunately already come to an end, and we are flying back to Frankfurt today from Minneapolis, via Detroit. The final game between the children and the camp counselors took place on Friday. It was a great game, with music and typical German stadium fare accompanying the soccer game. In the evening, there was a banquet for all the camp participants, where we ceremoniously presented the DFB McDonald’s badge awards to our soccer adventure participants. As a sign of appreciation, we also received a t-shirt, which we liked very much. It was a wonderful conclusion to our stay in Waldsee. The entire time, including the soccer camp in Pennsylvania at Twin Valley High School and the soccer program in German at Concordia Language Village, was a great experience for us, which we would do again anytime. We would like to thank everyone for giving us the opportunity to participate in this project in the U.S. We really enjoyed ourselves.
Thursday, July 28
Enlarge image (© germany.info) Wednesday, we had to adjust our coaching schedule somewhat here at Waldsee. We did three stations of the DFB & McDonald’s badge program with the children during the final family hour, because the camp’s daily schedule did not leave much time for training that day. We then did the two remaining stations Thursday morning. All the participants achieved at least a bronze medal, which made us very proud. The French and Italian camps visited us on Thursday for a joint Swiss Day. Each camp group sang songs and practiced simple language exercises. During free time, Faruk and I led the soccer event for the three camps. In addition, we designed the new tricots for the finale within our soccer working group and wrote language progress reports on the participants of our soccer adventure program. Thursday evening, our working group presented its projects to the entire group. Everyone did their part very well. Both the leader of the advanced participants and we ourselves were very pleased.
Tuesday, July 26
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) The second week started here at Waldsee on Monday. The subject during the German-soccer hour was, “why, because. . . ”. We posed various soccer-related questions, which the children had to answer. After that, they could play soccer. In the practical training, we concentrated once again on dribbling and passing. The kids enjoy training in many small competitions and games. Karlis Nollendorfs, an experienced counselor at Concordia Language Villages who is called “Axel” here at Waldsee, assists us in methodically conveying the language and makes sure that we have everything we need. Tuesday, we coached the kids again in shooting and heading to help prepare them for the DFB McDonald’s badge. To this end, we divided all the participants into four groups and let them practice various goal exercises with the ball. In relation to the language learning, we covered the past tense, i.e. “What did you do?” We are pleased with the children’s progress and are looking forward to the finale game on Friday.
Saturday, July 23
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) The first week at Waldsee is already over. In addition to our soccer training, our working group is also going very well. One group will design the logo and tricots for the new Waldsee soccer team to be used next Friday at the final game. All the course participants here at Waldsee will then play against the camp counselors. Faruk and I, of course, will also participate. Today, we focused on practicing flanking and, of course, spoke German only during the training. Many of the children understand our instructions straight away and all of them give their best. Faruk and I are very pleased with their performance. Tomorrow, we’ll have the day off here at camp, and the counselors will have the opportunity to drive to Bemidji for a few hours. We’ll use it to do some sight-seeing in the city.
Thursday, July 21
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) Two more days have past here at Waldsee. We are continuing with our soccer adventure program. Just like the rest of the camp, we focus on a particular topic everyday. Wednesday, the topic was, “What are you doing?” Using a poster, we explained simple sentences like “I am playing soccer,” “I’m passing the ball,” or “I’m throwing in the ball” before we moved to the practical portion of the day. Today, our topic was, “What is that?” To get our point across, we prepared a brief presentation and showed pictures illustrating soccer terms like “corner ball,” “playing field,” “kick-off,” and “free kick.” The children pick up the words very fast and also use them in the practical exercises. Concordia Language Villages provided use with a lot of materials like new Adidas balls, cones, and soccer bibs, so we are able to offer the kids a diverse training program. They are all having fun with the training and improving both in the language and in the sport.
The evening program here at Waldsee is very diversified. This evening, we and the kids baked pizza in wood-burning ovens, which we all very much enjoyed.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) Monday, July 18
We arrived at Waldsee Concordia Language Villages on Saturday evening, after a long overlay at the Minneapolis airport and a five-hour bus drive. Dan Hamilton, director of the Waldsee camp, picked us up in Bemidji. As it was already late, we just retired to our rooms.
Sunday started with our orientation at Waldsee. The schedule included, among other things, First Aid, how to deal with the campers, and what to do in emergency situations. Of course, we also learned how to care for the kids and what we would be doing here over the coming two weeks. As camp counselors, Faruk and I will be living with 14 children each between the ages of 10 and 14 and three other counselors in various dormitories. Waldsee Village is set up very nicely and offers many opportunities for children to engage in activities.
Today, about 130 children started to arrive. Some will stay to learn German at Waldsee for two weeks; others, for four weeks. We helped out on some activities available to campers who had already checked in. These included soccer, of course, but trash recycling was also on our list of things to do. After dinner, we presented our soccer program to the individual dorm groups and explained how the DFB McDonald’s badge works. Afterwards, we took a tour of the entire camp, sang songs, and the beach rules were explained to the kids. Overall, we felt right at home. Tomorrow, we will start our soccer program adventure: Three times a day for one hour, we will teach the kids how to play soccer while speaking in German.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) Thursday, July 14
Today was the day before the last training day at Twin Valley High School. To start off, we went through a brief German-language hour and reviewed the most important terms. New to this unit was the word "flank," for which we also did a lot of drills. We also practiced response speed, where we explained various colors and numbers.
Since new kids were constantly joining our camp, we would give each of them the chance again to practice and improve their performance on all five stations for the DFB McDonald’s badge. They are all looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge of earning the badge. We are very confident that all the participants will do well.
Wednesday, July 13
And another training day at Twin Valley High School is over. Today’s training unit primarily focused on "Kopfball" –heading – and "Torschuß" – scoring goals. We then frequently incorporated these concepts, and terms like "Elfmeter" – penalty kick – or "Einwurf" – throw-in – into the drills we were practicing. Most of the participants could also remember the terms from the previous training unit.
We conducted several shooting and targeted heading drills and let the participants also introduce their own ideas. At the end of the session, we set up the stations for the Penalty and Heading King tests. One group played offense against defense; the other group went through the stations. Then, they switched. They all had a lot of fun during the training and the atmosphere, on the whole, loosened up.
Tomorrow, we will will practice flanking again and give everyone the opportunity to improve their techniques going through the stations to earn the DFB McDonald’s badge.
Tuesday, July 12
On the weekend, we had the opportunity to take a trip to Philadelphia with Christian Murray. Among other sights, we visited Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, and the Rocky Steps. We also enjoyed an original Philadelphia cheese steak. We can recommend that very much! It was a great trip, which we will always remember.
Today at 5:00 pm, we began training the 12 to 18 year olds. There are about 16 boys and 16 girls. As it is very hot in the mornings, we decided to put both groups together in the late afternoon. After a short introduction with “Mein Name ist …” and some information on the DFB McDonald’s badge, we started the warm-up and practiced dribbling and passing to prepare everyone for the various stages of the competition. After the first practice session, we gave them a short German lesson, teaching them words like “Tor,” “Fußball,” “passen,” “dribbeln,” “schießen,” “abspielen,” “rechts,” and “links.”
The boys and girls absorbed the lesson well, and we are eager to find out how much they will remember by tomorrow. We also did some group practice, where they were able to compete among themselves. The training will conclude with a soccer match and the training sections “Dribbelkünstler” and “Kurzpass-Ass.” The feedback from this first section of week two was very positive, and we are looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) Friday, July 8
Sadly, the first week of the German Soccer Camp with the younger kids is already over. Yesterday’s workout concentrated on practicing the individual stages of achieving the DFB McDonald’s badge. We constructed a course of five stations, where the kids were able to improve their passing and shooting skills. We furthermore explained soccer techniques by using elements of American sports like the field goal of American football to practice the test stations called “Flankengeber” and “Elferkönig.” Additionally, we included playful workouts like bump (a well-known basketball game) and soccer golf during practice.
The day of the big test for the boys group started with a warm-up. After that, everyone went through all the different stages. Everyone was highly motivated and gave his best. As it was raining heavily in the evening during the girls’ training, we moved two of the five elements into the gym. Despite the change of environment, all the girls achieved excellent results. We were able to finish the last part of the program on the outdoor soccer field.
After handing out the badges, all the boys and girls parted by saying “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Danke schön.” As an extra, all the boys and girls will receive a certificate and a list of all the German words and sentences they learned during the week.
Christian Murray and Mike Culbert, who supported us with all the necessary training tools and helped us by making this soccer club work, were very happy with the week’s program. We all agreed that the program had a positive impact on all the kids who participated.
Wednesday, July 6
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) Another day at the Twin Valley High School soccer camp is over. Today, we continued our training by giving all the instructions in German. We also explained the new words “Kopfball” and “Einwurf.” Both the boys and the girls remembered the German sentences from the previous day. After various exercises, we integrated some tests included in achieving the badge. The children enjoyed the challenge and produced very good results. As it was very hot, we had to take a lot of water breaks. We went on a short excursion to a sprinkler system to cool down. Farouk and I have the impression that the kids are really enjoying the soccer camp.
Later that day, we went out with Virginia, our hostess, for dinner and a little sightseeing to Reading. We visited the city’s landmark, The Pagoda, a Chinese-looking house placed on the city’s highest point. We took some photos and enjoyed the view. We are fascinated by the distance between the towns.
Tomorrow, we will introduce more tests related to the DFB McDonald’s badge to prepare the kids as much as possible.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) Tuesday, July 5
The first training session started at 9:00 am. The 15 boys were between 7 and 13 years old. At the beginning, we introduced ourselves by saying, “Hallo, ich heiße …” and explained what will be on the program over the next four days, before achieving the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge. We continued explaining easy terms like “Fußball,” “passen,” “dribbeln,” “stoppen,” and “Tor.” During the workout, the group had to say simple German sentences. We practiced many different passes and ended the session with a shooting competition.
From 5:00pm on, we trained our second group, 14 girls in the same age group. They, too, found the combination of soccer and the German language interesting and quickly picked up sentences and words.
Tomorrow, we will incorporate the tests for the DFB McDonald’s badge into the training session.
Monday, July 4
On Monday, July 4, Farouk and I started our trip to the United States, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to begin our first soccer camp at Twin Valley High School. We left Frankfurt on time at 11:20 am, and our first point of entry was New York. After filling out one more immigration document, we were ready to board the short flight to Philadelphia.
Christian Murray of the Twin Valley HS’s sports department met us at the airport. It took us one hour by car to reach Reading, near Morgantown, where we met our friendly hostess, Virginia, who made us feel right at home.
Tomorrow at 9:00 am, we will begin our first program with a group of 15 boys. Later on the same day, we will train a group of 14 girls, starting at about 5 pm.
After our long trip, we spent a quiet Independence Day evening, despite the fireworks in the neighborhood. We are looking forward to starting the soccer camp and are very excited to find out how to engage the students in the training sessions.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) This event was part of the "do Deutsch" series of events on German culture and language organized by the German missions and the Goethe-Institut locations in the US.