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British soccer camp a big hit
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Richard Barnes of Cheltenham, England traveled to the United States for the first time last month.

The 21-year-old provided instruction at the Challenger British Soccer Camp, held June 16-20, at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.

"It's never this hot where I'm from," Barnes said following the second day's three-hour session. "We normally see a lot of rain."

Hosted by the Ceres Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department, the five-day event served more than a dozen children aged 5-16.

Emphasis was placed upon individual skill development and fundamental tactical awareness through a mix of participation, practices and games.

Each session started at 9 a.m. and ended at 12 p.m.

"I just like soccer," said Jared Sinlapaxay, 6, who just completed first grade at La Rosa Elementary School. "I like being the goalie or shooting the goals."

Matthew Robles, 11, of Ceres attended last year's camp.

"I like this because it trains me to do better for (Modesto Youth Soccer Association recreational play)," said Robles, a soon-to-be sixth-grader at Don Pedro Elementary School. "At the end of each day, we do games. That's my favorite thing."

Marlowe Burgess' three sons attended the clinic, including Jonathan (16), Jeremy (13) and Joshua (9). They live in Ceres.

"The guy's really positive and encouraging," he said. "He keeps it interesting and exciting. Lots of variety. It's not boring."

The Burgess brothers lead busy lives.

Jonathan, Jeremy and Joshua are straight-A students.

They're currently taking piano, guitar and swimming lessons.

"My youngest son is the one who really want it (soccer instruction)," Marlowe said. "We would have gone last summer if we had a brochure."

Three girls signed up for the clinic, including Ceres' Kaia (12) and Rebecca (11) Meares, and Modesto's Taylor Morasci (10).