Gerald Pinchbeck (middle) works on a ball control drill Tuesday while European Football School head coach Saibo Talic (left) looks on.

Gerald Pinchbeck (middle) works on a ball control drill Tuesday while European Football School head coach Saibo Talic (left) looks on.

Locals put best boot forward at camp

Saibo Talic, head coach of the European Football School Soccer Camp, continues to see improvement in the level of skill exhibited by Williams Lake players year after year.

Saibo Talic, head coach of the European Football School Soccer Camp, continues to see improvement in the level of skill exhibited by Williams Lake players year after year.

Eight years ago, Talic held his first EFS soccer camp in Williams Lake. Since, the camp, currently running at the Esler Sports Complex soccer fields until Friday, has been one of Talic’s staples as he tours across British Columbia communities offering soccer camps throughout the summer.

Talic, who lives in Vancouver, said he enjoys coming to Williams Lake for several reasons; however, the most important reason stems from the attitudes he sees in the players.

“The kids really want to work and show great respect every year,” Talic said Tuesday, his last official day at the camp before heading off to Sweden to coach a group of U17 and U19 players who will compete at the Gothia Cup, the World Youth Cup of Soccer.

“I’ve never had a problem with any player here. It’s all about desire and work ethic. These guys here are a pleasure, and there’s lots of talent.”

This year’s camp is running in three separate sections.

The first, starting at 8 a.m., is a team camp for a combined group of U14 and U15 local female rep players.

Next, at 10:30 a.m., ages 7 to 12 hit the pitch. The afternoon’s session features a group of 13- to 19-year-old players.

To help coach at this year’s camp Talic has brought along two other coaches — Steve September, a National ‘B’ License coach who’s been with EFS for eight years and, Igor Matic, a Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) ‘A’ licensed coach who played professionally in former Yugoslavia and Germany.

One of Talic’s coaching philosophies is to teach repetition in drills to his students. He prides himself on holding a well-structured camp focusing on technical and tactical teaching with a philosophy encompassing explanation, demonstration, observation and correction.

In addition to the summer camps EFS holds, Talic also offers a year-round program for players looking for more training. As a reward, Talic selects players who attend his camps and his year-round program to bring with his EFS teams when competing at tournaments inside and outside of Canada.

“I really want to help these kids if they want to go on and play university soccer,” Talic said. “It’s not about the money for me. I really enjoy this.”

Joining Talic in Europe to compete at the World Youth Cup of Soccer will be Williams Lake’s Vanessa Hansen (U17), Isabella Ruby (U17), Laura Smylie (U19) and Emily Robertson (U19).

See a future Tribune for story on the World Youth Cup of Soccer and the EFS team.