Thursday May 17, 2018
Ten Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School student athletes traveled to Holland this April as part of the Far Post Soccer Club (FPSC). They are all players on the U14 (2004 BY) Boys and Girls Premier teams coached by Staige Davis and Raymond Campanile, respectively. The Holland trip is part of an FPSC tradition started in 1996, when the Essex Junction club was founded. “Far Post initially started as a club that based all of its trainings and practices on the Dutch vision of soccer,” Todd Kingsbury, the director of FPSC, explained. “The purpose of this trip was to bring kids to Holland to learn firsthand what the Dutch vision of soccer truly is.”
While in the Netherlands, the students were trained by national team coaches in Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) youth academies, toured multiple soccer stadiums, and attended professional soccer games. Davis went on this trip as a youth player in 2006. “One of biggest differences is the mode of transportation. It has changed from a bus to bikes,” Davis explained, noting that the Vermont contingent rode bikes like the local students for a cultural experience as well.
The trip required preparation for both coaches and players. Kingsbury notes that preparation starts very early. “We actually coordinate the trip with assistance from people on the ground that do what I ask of them down to very little detail. And, every year, I work very hard to make the next trip even better.”
“I have been working with the players through extra training sessions, having a higher fitness level, creating a sense of urgency for improvement, and assisting with fundraising,” Campanile said. The student athletes’ preparation includes fundraising to defray individual costs. Team members sold raffle tickets, team clothing, and March Madness brackets.
Besides having a great soccer experience, the trip provides players with valuable life lessons. The coaches all agree that bonding and taking care of your teammates is an important lesson to learn and understand. Kingsbury added, “You must work hard for a long period of time to be successful at something that is truly an extraordinary experience.” Davis believes “personal responsibility and accountability” are also taught during this trip.
Although preparation for the trip can be challenging, those involved report the results are worth it. “We do it because it is part of our soul and is at the heart of our identity as a club,” Kingsbury stated about the trip. The experience may have made memories that will last the rest of the players’ lives.
SOURCE: Megan Harton, SBHS CDC Correspondent