The Kootenay Whitecaps academy has Emma Humphries, the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club Girls Elite head coach, in Nelson working with the female players this weekend.
The Vancouver-based football club has a big base of players in the lower main-land and Humphries explained why she made the trip eastward.
“We also have really important academies outside of Vancouver so me being the head coach of the girls program, it’s important that I get out and see all the kids.”
And Humphries has seen some great young players in Nelson.
“They all look really excited to be here and some good technical skills too coming through the system,” said Humphries, “so obviously these guys [coaches] are doing a good job.”
The skills based camp was an opportunity for them to have fun playing soccer too. Humphries gave the example of playing coordination games with the U10s to work on “general movement bit with a football, so lots and lots of touches on the ball”.
“For us, the modern game is all about technique. In the skills academy it’s all in small tight spaces so they can practice their decision making on the ball, under pressure. So all the stuff these guys do, Brett and Sam and the community, I’m probably just reiterating the same thing: that technique is the most important thing for these kids to do.”
“The most important things on days like today is kids falling in love with football. I came along these skills type camps as a kid. These types of experiences, the fun as a kid, that’s what keeps you in the sport for life. Have an awesome time and improve their technique and then hopefully the kids will stay in the game. Some of Brett’s kids may be going on to scholarships at universities. And hopefully, one day, some of them might come through into our system.”
Brett Adams, head coach for the Whitecaps Kootenay Academy Centre said it’s a great opportunity for the female soccer players to have an Elite girl’s coach come out. He said the girl’s are strong players with a lot of enthusiasm. Adams said the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 is very motivating for the girls as well. (Canada, ranked 8th, plays England tonight in Vancouver in the quarter finals.)
“To have a female elite of Humphries’ caliber is an example of a level of play for the girls to reach,” said Adams. “It is really good for them and I hope this will be just the first of more to come.” He said this year there are three girls who may receive soccer scholarships, which is an example of the level and value of their skills.
Humphries has played soccer all her life. She played for the New Zealand National team under then head coach John Herdman (now the head coach of the Canadian Women’s National team). Previously the head of development manager of women’s football in New Zealand, Humphries has been coaching for many years.
While it’s her first time to Nelson, it’s unlikely it will be her last. “I love it,” she said, “I’m definitely coming back.”