Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club hosts international soccer camp

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Many of the top soccer players in the world hail from abroad.

So what was it like for a group of lucky Rapid city kids to learn from the best?

The Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club hosted a week-long challenger sports international soccer camp. The camp brings young players and coaches from abroad to work with local youth.

This was an opportunity for players to learn elements from Britain, Spain, Brazil and France, a few of the countries which tend to dominate the game globally.

“I’ve learned a lot from these coaches, a lot that I didn’t know coming into this camp that I didn’t think I would learn here,” said Camp participant Ravi Moreland. “But it’s been a fun time.”

Soccer abroad is much like football in the United States, a way of life.

Camp director Joe Chapman says that playing soccer is one of the first things he learned to do when he began walking. He has played professionally in The Premier League and has learned from the best coaches in the world.

“Me and Dan have both played to a high standard back home and have been coached by good level coaches, so we pick up things from them,” Chapman said. “We’ve also done coaching badges back home, which are to a higher standard than they are over here. So we’ve been just a better level of coaching and it’s more exciting for the kids because they get to be coached by English people, it’s exciting for them.”

Chapman attends The University of Houston-Victoria in Texas, but due to travel restrictions, has decided to remain in the U.S. for the summer to ensure he can resume classes this fall. Aside from restricted travel, some areas in Europe have put strong rules in place hoping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“For nearly two months, I think, they were in total locked down,” Chapman said. “Only allowed out of the house to go to the grocery store, that was it, and when you had to go to the grocery store, it was masks. And it was like police were pulling people over, like ‘why are you out of the house’, so I still feel safe, especially in more rural areas like this.”

Despite the camp’s popularity, this year’s turnout was lower than usual, with about 50 percent lower participation due to COVID-19, but participants still enjoyed learning from world-class coaches. While it may seem daunting to inexperienced players, participants and coaches alike encourage kids to get out and have fun.

“I know some people at this camp who have never played soccer in their lives, and they seemed to really love it, and they learned a lot of new stuff, and it’s pretty cool for everybody,” Moreland said.

“Give it a go, it’s fun,” Chapman said. “There’s nothing stopping you. Try it once, if you don’t like, don’t play again. There’s nothing stopping you playing, just have a go.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News, Sports