Independent Families: 'Our son wants to do a football course'


Q. Our 11-year-old son lives and breathes football, and is desperate to do something soccer-related this summer, particularly since the World Cup. We've looked at the usual children's activity holidays, but wondered if there was anything more targeted out there?

Bill and Lucinda Atkins, via e-mail

A. Your first stop should be your nearest professional football club, most of which have links with Football in the Community (FITC). This is a nationwide, not-for-profit organisation that runs holiday soccer coaching for children, based at club grounds. One of the largest is based at Leeds United (0113 367 6341; www.leedsunited.com); summer courses for five-12 and 13-16-year-olds run in various locations in Yorkshire for six weeks from next Monday, 24 July, and cost £16 for a single day or £49 for four days. If your son has his eye on a professional career, this could be a good place to start: two out of three of the players in Leeds' football academy were first spotted at FITC courses.

Multi-activity summer camps such as those run by market leaders PGL (0870 050 7507; www.pgl.co.uk) and Camp Beaumont (0870 499 8787; www.campbeaumont.co.uk) may not involve much football. But don't write them off completely; ever-sensitive to the demands of modern children (and the marketing opportunities offered by the World Cup), both run specialist football breaks.

PGL's football weeks for seven-16-year-olds run throughout the summer at two of its residential centres, in Shropshire and Surrey, and involve laid-back sessions of footie training in the morning, followed by afternoons trying out sports such as abseiling or snorkelling. The cost for seven nights is £423 in Shropshire, £396 in Surrey, and includes full-board accommodation in dormitories or four-bedded tents, as well as activities.

For an extra £60 or so, you might still be able to squeeze into Camp Beaumont's World Cup holiday, so-called because participants spend mornings being taught super-speedy futbol de salao by professional coaches from the renowned Brazilian Soccer School. This is for one week only, from 12 August, at The Island, a dormitory-based Isle of Wight site. Don't worry if you miss out on it, as the company also offers standard All-Star Football weeks at two other sites throughout the summer.

If these don't sound suitably soccer-specific, two of the sport's greatest British exponents have lent their names to courses concentrating solely on the beautiful game. The Bobby Charlton Soccer and Sports Academy (01565 632 555; www.bcssa.co.uk) runs residential summer camps at Myerscough College, Preston to 11 August, for ages eight to 18, playing five to six hours of fun, skills-oriented football a day. All abilities are catered for, from absolute beginners up, and the minimum stay is five days, though girls and boys are welcome for up to three weeks. A five-day full-board stay costs £355, and includes accommodation in twin or single rooms on the campus.

The BCSSA's most famous ex-pupil now has his own school, the David Beckham Academy at an undercover site near London's Millennium Dome (020-8269 4620; www.thedavidbeckham academy.com). It runs excellent non-residential, three-, four- and five-day football camps for eight- to 15-year-olds, focusing on team-building, tactics and techniques. Prices start at £175, including lunch and, at the end of a course, a pair of Beckham-branded Adidas trainers.

For a serious, fully residential holiday coached solely by professionals, you may also want to consider an Exsportise camp (01444 444777; www.exsportise.co.uk). As the name suggests, these are activity breaks that concentrate solely on sport, whether single or multi-discipline. Its five-day football academies for 10 to 16 year-olds use Premier League coaches to teach boys and girls in two, daily, three-hour sessions. Children will be divided into ability groups, but whatever their level can expect to improve their technical skills, fitness, positional play and decision making. They will play in a tournament at the end of the week to which parents are invited. Camps run weekly throughout July and August, and cost £329, including full-board accommodation in single-sex rooms or dormitories at one of two boarding schools in southern England.

Finally, if you're booking these or any other residential children's holidays, it's always a good idea to check a few facts first. Any reputable organisation should be happy to confirm that all its staff are cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau, as well as let you know what professional qualifications they have. Feel free to ask about health, safety and security arrangements - does a member of staff sleep in dormitory buildings, for instance?

Also check whether the company is a member of the British Activity Holiday Association (020-8842 1292; www.baha.org.uk), or any national sporting bodies. And any camp that takes children under eight must also be Ofsted-inspected, which means you can ask to see a copy of its most recent report.

Send your family travel queries to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or e-mail crusoe@independent.co.uk

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?