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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence