The World Cup came to Fort Bragg last week. The Polo Field was the site of a Union of European Football Associations Soccer Camp for youth aged three to 16.
The camp, held by SKIESUnlimited and Fort Bragg Youth Sports and Fitness, was led by FIFA-certified coaches from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Attendees participated in drills, scrimmages and “World Cup” matches.
“For the little ones, they learn the ABCs — agility, balance and coordination. It’s not just about learning soccer skills; it’s also the fundamentals and life skills of growing up for the young kids,” said Brian Thomson, academy trainer, Challenger Sports.
Thomson said he enjoys seeing the mentality of children change throughout the week.
“We get these kids on a Monday who won’t come near you, won’t speak to you, and then by Wednesday … they’re coming up to you and giving you a high five, giving you a hug before they leave. That’s one of the best things about it.”
Participants seemed to enjoy the camp. Zhaniya Little, 6, said she had learned how to do the “scissors,” which was a new skill for the year-round soccer play. Her favorite aspect of camp was easy to name.
“The pirates,” she said. “It’s a game where you’re trying to stay alive because if you get hit (with the ball), you lose your leg and you have to hop.”
This was the second year Fort Bragg has hosted the UEFA Soccer Camp, according to Paul Driessen, instructional program specialist, SKIESU program. All participants received a soccer ball and T-shirt, and early registrants were given a British soccer jersey.
For more information on other programs offered by SKIESU, visit To learn more about Youth Sports and Fitness, visit