England Head Coaches at the BI Football Ground
By Nicholas Zeller-Singh Kitsap News Group • July 24, 2023 1:30 am
After nine championships in a Crossfire across-the-water soccer tournament, the Bainbridge Island Football Club is looking to take its premier status to the next level.
Thus, BIFC is opening its arms to Everton FC, a team in the first division of England, for a five-day summer camp on July 24-28 BI.
“Hummel is one of our sponsors and part of our contact with Hummel was with Everton,” said BIFC director of coaching Ian McCallum. “Hummel contacted Everton and allowed us to train at Everton’s training facility last year. We spoke to Everton about what we were looking for and what they offered and we chose the best option for our community.”
BIFC has a history in England. In recent years, McCallum sent around 60 players to Liverpool and Manchester to experience their culture. While in England, the teams played local clubs, trained at Premier League venues, explored the cities and history and watched Premier League matches.
This season, McCallum decided it was time to take England to the North West. “This is Bainbridge Island’s first camp,” Everton FC International Academy coach Mark Thompson said.
McCallum said: “We have 120 kids in the camp so the excitement is there. We know what the community is looking for and if we can get opportunities for our players it will increase their skill, knowledge and love of the game.”
Several children from all over the Peninsula are on the soccer fields at Battle Point Park for summer camp. “It’s very beautiful,” said Max Barry. “I never thought a Premier League team would come here and meet any of them.”
Sydney Leech added: “I’m really excited because I get to practice my soccer skills.”
Taylor Keaty–Wallorich is excited not only to train with professional coaches, but also to “host one of the players because he’s cool.”
Children between the ages of 8 and 14 participate in the development soccer school. Although BIFC has experienced coaches, Everton’s coaches were able to offer new tactics to the kids. “We have staff from England, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe, Spain and Costa Rica,” Thompson said. “We follow a comprehensive curriculum designed and written by the Everton coaches in England. It’s the same curriculum that the academy runs – a high level curriculum with lots of educational material.”
Some of the topics on the field include tactics with the ball, without the ball, technical work, physical work and team elements. “I was hoping to improve our team with tactics and see how Premier League teams train,” said Max.
Sydney and Taylor added that they were excited to work on their dribbling, passing and shooting accuracy. In addition to the development camp, Everton FC offered a goalkeeper football school for 8-18 year olds. “Our part of our journey is to educate, but also to continue to nurture the love of the game in kids,” Thompson said.
Since reaching out, BIFC and Everton look forward to maintaining a strong relationship. BIFC will be looking to revamp their trip to England to include Everton, while the Premier League club will keep an eye on local products. “It can be a pathway to the pros for players,” McCallum said. “Part of the pitch is that every player gets an assessment and maybe there’s a kid that Everton want to identify that kid and see where he goes.”
The Everton camp hosted 120 children from July 24-28 at Battle Point Park.
Mark Thompson comments that the kids will learn new tactics and skills from the Everton pitch.