Soccer coaches love what they do

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp coaches Natalie Andrew (left) and Mark Dawson (right) are teaching the basics to campers at the camp this week. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

When the trumpets sound, heralding the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London on Friday, Mark Dawson and Natalie Andrew will be holding ceremonies of their own at the end of the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp in Andalusia.

Dawson, 20, a native of Newcastle, England, and Andrew, 21, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, are instructors with Challenger Sports, who have been teaching a week-long camp on the basics of soccer to area children.

From the time they were little toddlers, the coaches said they’ve been playing soccer – a sport they can’t live without, they said.

“Some of the best parts of our lives have been around soccer,” Dawson said.

Andrew is currently a full-time coach for the Motherwell Soccer Club, a professional soccer club, instructing kids ages 3-12.

“I like coaching the younger kids because I get to see them progress all the way,” she said. “It’s more enjoyable coaching younger kids.

“The kids I’ve been coaching now, I’ve coached since they were 3,” she said. “Now, I’ve seen them play at 9, so six years later.”

Andrew said coaching is in her blood.

“That’s just what I want to do every day,” she said.

Dawson has coached for the last four years. Currently, he is coaching a travel team out of Palm Beach, Fla., while attending college.

The soccer camp in Andalusia ends on Friday, and Dawson said at the end of the week, there will be a “World Cup Final,” where participants can show off their newly found skills.

“We’re teaching a lot of the basics, and then build it up as the week progresses,” he said. “We just progress it. We have scrimmages at the end of each day. We call it the World Cup.

“It’s a compeitition at the end of the week, and the winning team get’s the cup,” he said.

At the end of each day, designated teams representing different countries around the world play scrimmages, earning points to reach the finals.

Even though the opening ceremonies in London will take place during the World Cup Finals, both coaches said they wouldn’t trade going back to watch the Olympics rather than coaching kids to play soccer.

“I’d rather be dong this than being at home watching the Olympics,” Dawson said.

The World Cup Finals at the camp will take place at around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, and the closing ceremonies start at 11:30 a.m.

Dawson returns to England after school in December, and Andrew goes back to Scotland in September.

The two will travel to Orlando to host their next camp.