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Ceres hosts British Challenger Camp
Eight youngsters participate in June 15-19 clinic at River Bluff Park
Eight-year-old Zachary Looney of Ceres scores a goal during a scrimmage at the British Soccer Challenger Camp on June 17 at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. A total of eight youngsters, aged 5-11, signed up for the five-day camp. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The Looney siblings, Grace, Zachary and Travis of Ceres, braved the heat along with five other youngsters while participating in the British Challenger Soccer Camp earlier this month.

The clinic was staged, June 15-19, at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.

England resident Jonny Swift provided instruction to eight children, aged 5-11.

"These kids are young," said Swift, 22. "We're working on fundamentals. The first day, they struggled. They're starting to improve."

Grace (10), Zachary (8), Travis (5), fellow Cereans Taranveer Singh (8) and Daniel Zavala (6), Hughson's Quinn Alvine (8), Waterford's Matthew Goulding (10) and Nigeria's Daniel Anunne (11) spent time working on dribbling, passing and shooting drills at the five-day clinic.

They also played fun games and scrimmaged.

"My mom found out about it online," Grace said. "I like that we get to do a scrimmage at the end of each day. We use all the moves and techniques we learned. I want to do it again next year. It's fun."

Each session started at 10 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m.

"The kids were nervous at the start," Swift said. "They're a lot more confident now."

Swift will teach soccer to boys and girls in Ceres and Escalon during his two-month stay in California.

His host family resides in Lathrop.

"This is my first time in America," Swift said. "It's very hot. The facilities are great here. We really want to push soccer. It's important to get the kids started young. That's our drive."

The city of Ceres and Challenger British Soccer Camp partnered for the first time 10 years ago.