Coach Björn's Soccer Camp Blog
Björn Kring, the first of seven German soccer coaches to take part in the German weeks project "Soccer Summer Camp in German," tells us about his experiences.
Friday, July 1
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) Yesterday, we had our last day at Ersperanza High School and again had a great deal of fun together. The kids completed the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge program and, afterwards, the group gathered together to wish me farewell with a big “danke schön.” In the evening, the coaches Conan and Vodak Hawkins and his wife, along with Liz Kaulard and her husband Ron, Jeff, and I went to have a bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant. It was a very nice close to the two weeks.
The project was a whole lot of fun for everybody and me. I, for my part, must say that it was a great experience, which I would do again anytime. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this trip to the U.S. possible for me. I had a really, really wonderful time.
Thursday, June 30
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Krings) We didn’t start the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge program after all yesterday and will go through it the whole day today.
Yesterday, we practiced a whole bunch of passing techniques and incorporated some individual training into the program time and again. As always, the guys had a whole lot of fun and are looking forward to their final day, when they will be able to earn the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge.
After the training, I cooked for my host family to conclude my stay. It was a small three-course meal, which everybody enjoyed very much.
Today is the last day and tomorrow I will head back again to Germany.
Wednesday, June 29
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) Yesterday, I continued working with the 18 children from the day before. We did a whole bunch of drills with the ball and the boys had a lot of fun. We were on the field for about two hours and, as always, ended with a game.
I had the feeling that they could better understand my instructions in German and were also somewhat better able to speak in German.
After the training, I drove with Liz Kaulard and Frank Duscha from the German consulate to a nearby restaurant for a drink and to talk about the project some. Afterwards, I was invited to Liz’s place for dinner and we spent a pleasant evening together with a few friends and her family.
Today, the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge is on the agenda. I am excited to see how the boys will do.
Tuesday, June 28
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) On Monday, camp started on schedule at 12 noon. It was very hot and, after a brief warm-up, I had the opportunity to go through my program with 18 boys.
Two of them already have had German in school. I started with simple exercises like “My name is Björn, what’s yours?” and explained a few soccer terms like “ball,” “goal,” “pylon,” etc.
We did a whole bunch of different soccer drills and I constantly tried to introduce German terms. After about two hours, my training program was over and the boys played a big final game. It is sometimes very funny how the boys pronounce some of the German words. I’ve already heard some pretty amusing variations of the word “Hütchen” – pylon.
After training, I went with Jeff to a baseball game – the Los Angeles Angels against the Washington Nationals. It was a really great and new experience for me to watch a live baseball game.
Monday, June 27
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) I’ve just completed my blogs from the weekend.
Friday was the last day with the girls. I still had one more group with whom I had to do the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge program.
There were 15 girls who were up that day. The drills were a lot of fun and they also thanked me in German, saying “danke schön.”
Afterwards, there was a big final game on the program and at the end of the event the girls presented me with a card thanking me for the great time, which really made me happy.
Since the boys didn’t have any training that day, but a game instead, I drove out with them to the game in the evening and to watch how they acquitted themselves. They played against Troi High School and in the end there was no winner. The game ended 1:1.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) On Saturday, sleeping in was the first order of business. Brady and I drove to the Ontario Mills mall. At the mall, we saw a whole lot of Mexicans wearing soccer jerseys, very likely on their way to the Gold Cup Final in Pasadena.
After the excursion, we drove home to get ready for the game of USA against Mexico. After the US was leading 2:0, everyone thought that was it. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Mexico hit back hard and ultimately won 4:2. I would’ve liked for the US to have won the game.
Jeff and I drove to Redondo Beach on Sunday. Redondo Beach is famous from Baywatch and The O.C. We had a really great day on the beach and later at Jeff’s house.
That’s it for the weekend.
Friday, June 24
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) Yesterday, I started to go through the program for the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge with the girls. I had two groups with 15 persons each and I let them do the drills. They had to perform the following drills: 1. Dribbling Artist 2. Short-Pass Ace 3. Heading King 4. Flanker 5. Penalty King
Liz Kaulard was on hand to lend assistance and the girls really enjoyed going through the various stations.
I gained the impression that one or two of the girls might like to choose German as a their first foreign language in the next school year following camp. Some of the girls don’t find the language as difficult as they previously thought. In any case, they think the idea of combining soccer and German is great. After the course, all the girls came up to me and thanked me in German, saying “danke schön.”
Today, the rest of the girls will complete the program for the soccer badge. It will be the last unit of girls. Camp ends today.
The boys have another week. They have a game against another high school today, so they don’t have practice. Yesterday, we practiced some game techniques and tactical instructions.
Camp will continue again on Monday. I will then have time to work intensively with the boys and then go through the DFB soccer badge program with them.
Thursday, June 23
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) Another day has gone by at camp.
For the most part, it is very pleasant training the girls. Starting at about 11 a.m., though, the sun comes out from behind the clouds and it gets really very hot. So it is necessary to take a lot of breaks due to the heat.
Yesterday, I worked with the goalkeepers for the last time. The kids had a lot of fun again, and I called out the exercises almost exclusively in German. We had no problems communicating and the exercises went smoothly.
I continue to have a lot of fun working together with the kids and today I am very much looking forward to attaining the DFB McDonald’s soccer badge with the girls and training with the field players for the first time – and also teaching them a little of the German language.
Wednesday, June 22
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) Another day has passed at the camp.
Yesterday, I coached the girls for the first time. I got a small group of four goalies.
None of the girls has already had German in school. We started out with a brief round of introductions. “My name’s Björn, what’s your name?” “I play goalie” and words like “ball”, “goal”, “gloves”, etc. After this short introduction, we practiced goal defense for 1 1/5 hours. I continued to use German words, and the girls understood and also implemented the training very well. After the training, the girls said goodbye to me with a “danke schön” – thank you. I was very pleased by that.
After the girls, it was the boys’ turn. I got the goalies again. That will change over the course of the week, which will allow me to go through my program with the field players as well.
The boys are very enthusiastic about the training and always want to have “mehr Bälle” – more balls – shot into the goal. I try to incorporate as many exercises as possible and continue to use just the German terms, which I think they are understanding better and better as time goes on. The boys can now respond to my questions and are very much enjoying working in this program. The boys, too, said goodbye to me with a “danke schön.”
I feel very much at home in my work with the children and am already looking forward to the next training units.
Tuesday, June 21
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) The first day at camp is over. It was extremely warm and the next few days are supposed to be even warmer.
Yesterday, I drove with my host son Brady to the camp shortly before 11 a.m. The trainers were introduced to me for the first time at the site and we discussed the program for the coming days.
The girls were already practicing and the boys were slowly trickling in at their camp. I was introduced to the two teams and my task was described by Liz Kaulard. I have in total about 55 girls and 55 boys, of which approx. 15 kids in each camp have already had some German in school. Yesterday, I had a small group of five kids with whom I practiced goalkeeping.
I used German in combination with soccer and tried to teach them phrases like “My name is Björn, what’s your name?”, “this is the soccer field and I am covering the goal”, “this is a ball, it must not be allowed to go into the goal”. But I also taught them terms like “right”, “left”, “down”, “high”, “forwards”, and “backwards”. The boys did very well and remembered a bit of both the language and soccer techniques.
Today, I will start out training with the girls at 9 a.m., and the boys will come to camp later, at about noon.
Starting tomorrow, we will attempt to work through the regime for the DFB McDonald’s badge with the kids.
Sunday, June 19
At 7:20 a.m., I flew from Bemidji to Minneapolis and from there on to L.A. On my arrival at the enormous L.A. airport, I was picked up by Liz Kaulard and, after a brief stay at her house, I was driven to my host family in Yorba Linda. Jeff, the father, and Brady, his son, were already waiting for me, and we spent a beautiful father’s day on the deck of their home.
Camp begins tomorrow. I am very excited to see what awaits me there and hope the combination of the German language and soccer will be a lot of fun for the children – similar to the project "Auf Ballhöhe," which has been successfully underway in South Africa for several years now. www.aufballhoehe.de
Saturday afternoon, June 18
Enlarge image (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) I woke up quite early and went to breakfast shortly before 8 a.m. The tables had already been set by the camp counselors, and we went out to a large field to sing German songs with the children and adults. After the sing-along, we went in to the dining hall and the meals were introduced and spoken in repeated fashion by everybody. There were “Schoko-Croissant” (chocolate croissants), “Müsli” (granola), “Obst” (fruit), “Milch” (milk) and so on.
After breakfast, my crash course continued. The following items were on the agenda: American children and cultural differences, the farewell program “a day at Waldsee,” a tour of Waldsee, kickball, a boat ride on Lake Waldsee, and a meeting about the soccer curriculum.
It is worth saying a word about the game of kickball, which is a combination of baseball and soccer and was a lot of fun to play. In principle, it is like baseball, except that the ball resembles a soccer ball and you kick it instead of hitting it with a bat. After this brief program, I began to pack my things for the further trip and, in the evening, we drove into Bemidji with the counselors for a burger.
Saturday morning, June 18
Enlarge image The Concordia Language Villages (© Germany.info, Photo: Björn Kring) My first day in Waldsee Bemidji is behind me. The flight from Minneapolis to Bemidji was very loud, I have never in my entire life flown on such a small and loud plane. Bemidji is located within a very beautiful landscape – the lakes and forests, very interesting.
Once I arrived at the camp, I first became acquainted with all the camp counselors. It is indeed fascinating how well everybody here speaks German and how Germany is represented here. I had a crash course in the rules of U.S. child education, the Concordia program, and safety measures in dealing with children.
Yesterday, there was a farewell party for a large group of children. There was bread, salad, beef roulade with spätzle (German noodles), and a small chocolate cake. After the meal, each house had to sing a song in German like Deutschland sucht den Superstar (a TV show like American Idol). A really fun evening. Afterwards, everybody participated in a disco with German-language music like Anton aus Tirol, Fliegerlied, etc.
Today, I will attend more crash courses and gain a closer look at the programs offered here on site.
Friday, June 17
Enlarge image (© www.colourbox.com)
I landed yesterday evening in Minneapolis after a long trip.
Here are my first impressions:
After picking up my visa from the consulate yesterday at 3 p.m. Germany time, I went directly to the Frankfurt airport to fly first to Chicago. I had a little luck and was able to travel the eight-hour flight in business class.
Upon arriving in Chicago (one of the world’s biggest airports), I was very warmly received by the American authorities. After explaining the reasons for my visit, I was directed to my connecting flight. People in the US are extremely friendly. I was frequently asked if I could find my way alright and whether I needed any assistance. Everyone was really great!
When I arrived at the gate to continue on to Minneapolis, the United Airlines flight was already getting ready to take off. The flight went off without a hitch and I was soon at the airport in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis airport is also enormous. After a short drive, I finally reached my destination at the Holiday Inn Hotel. The staff and people here are very friendly, like everyone I’ve met so far.
I’ll take off again at 11 a.m. to travel to Bemidji. I haven’t been able to take any pictures yet, but will definitely do so in Bemidji.
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.