Fresh off nine championships at a Crossfire soccer tournament across the water, Bainbridge Island Football Club is looking to bring its premier status to a higher level.
So BIFC is opening its arms to Everton FC, an England premier league team, for a five-day summer camp on BI July 24-28.
“Hummel is one of our sponsors and a part of our contact with Hummel was with Everton,” BIFC director of coaching Ian McCallum said. “Hummel reached out to Everton and allowed us to train at Everton’s training facility last year. We talked to Everton about what we were looking for and what they offered and chose the best option for our community.”
BIFC has a history in England. In the past years, McCallum sent around 60 players to Liverpool and Manchester to experience their culture. While in England, the teams would scrimmage local clubs, train at premier league sites, explore the towns and history, and watch premier league games.
This season, McCallum decided it was time to bring England to the Northwest. “This is the first Bainbridge Island camp,” Everton FC International Academy coach Mark Thompson said.
McCallum said, “We got 120 kids at camp so the excitement is there. We know what the community is looking for, and if we can get opportunities for our players, it’s going to expand their skill, knowledge and love for the game.”
Several kids from the entire Peninsula are at Battle Point Park soccer fields for the summer camp. “It’s really cool,” Max Barry said. “I never thought a premier league team would come here and that I would meet any of them.”
Sydney Leech added, “I’m really excited because I get to practice my soccer skills.”
Taylor Keaty–Wallorich is ecstatic to not only train with professional coaches but also “hosting one of the players because it’s pretty cool.”
Kids ages of 8-14 are taking part in the development soccer school. Although BIFC has experienced coaches, Everton’s coaches were able to provide new tactics to the kids. “We have staff from England, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe, Spain and Costa Rica,” Thompson said. “We follow a full curriculum that is tailored and written by the Everton coaches in England. It’s the same curriculum the academy runs—a high-level curriculum with loads of educational stuff.”
Some of the topics at the camp 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,” Max said.
Sydney and Taylor added they were excited to work on their dribbling, passing and shot precision. Besides the development camp, Everton FC offered a Goalkeeper Soccer School for ages 8-18. “Our part of our journey is to educate but also to continue to feed the kids the love of the game,” Thompson said.
Since reaching out, BIFC and Everton hope to keep strong relations. BIFC will look to revamp its England trip to include Everton while the premier league club will keep its eyes on local products. “It can be a pathway to the pros for the players,” McCallum said. “Part of the camp is each player is given an assessment and maybe there is a kid that Everton wants to identify this kid and see where that goes.”