Not even some Scottish-inspired winter weather could dampen the spirits of local soccer players this week, as coaches from the famous Celtic Football Club International Academy arrived at Byrne Park for a two-day training camp.
About 30 children from across the Mid North took part in the unique training experience, which saw two coaches from the Glasgow-based club offer an insight into the training regime which has helped create one of the world’s most successful soccer teams.
It was the first time that the Northern Demons Virtus Soccer Club had partnered with the club to hold an academy training session at Port Pirie.
Northern Demons Virtus Soccer Club under-13 coach Matthew Hunter said the training camp was a special opportunity for local players and Demons coaches alike.
“The kids get to learn new skills, undertake new drills and get an insight to how Celtic Football Club train thanks to high-quality coaches,” Mr Hunter said.
“But we as coaches also get to learn all these things, and we can take what we learn back to the club which is fantastic.” Both of the Celtic Football Club International Academy coaches had the Union of European Football Association ‘B’ coaching accreditation – the second-highest coaching accreditation available in Europe. Celtic Football Club International Academy coach Liam Murphy was impressed by the skills on display at the training camp.
“The ability has been very, very high, definitely one of the better squads we have seen,” Mr Murphy said.
“Especially some of the younger ones, they have been very good and have taken on everything we have asked of them.” The players, who ranged between the ages of eight and 18, undertook numerous drills including shooting, final third play, possession, technique and one-on-one and two-on-two plays.
All players also received a presentation from the coaches on what life is like as a professional soccer player and the importance of maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle at a dinner on Monday night.
“It is important that kids learn how to be both better soccer players and better people at the same time,” he said.
“There is no point being a great soccer player with no social skills … becoming a better person and soccer player are connected at Celtic Football Club.”