My journey to Chester from Burnley started with a 6.30am train. I was filled with a sense of nervousness but also excitement as I began my summer with UKLC.

I arrived around lunchtime and it was straight into the induction process where I needed to show my sporting qualifications as well as my Full First Aid Certificate.

I was introduced to my centre manager and my colleagues as we all shared our personal experiences within the sports, education and teaching industry.

This was the first summer camp that I’d been on, so to be coaching such a wide range of sports and activities for the children seemed a little daunting, but I did relish the challenge.

We were advised to get a good night’s rest before the children arrived and a colleague who was in his 7th year at UKLC reiterated this advice, telling me to enjoy whatever rest I could get throughout my three weeks.

It was only once the summer camp started that I realised how right he was!

Football Coaching Day 1

The weather was perfect for a good day of coaching. The sun was at its highest, the children were optimistic about the day ahead and the mood amongst the staff was great.

We started with a few simple shooting drills and some 3v3 games. The lessons were usually spread over 3 hours with regular drinks breaks. The overall mood of the football coaching staff was even more bouyant when the news came out that we had young Theo Zidane, aged 12, in our group.

The son of France and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane was the most technically gifted young footballer I’d seen in my life and it was obvious that he had played at the highest level possible before.

Excursion to Alton Towers

I was the only member of staff on this excursion! I was to go with a group of 22 Turkish children and their group 3 leaders who were teachers from their school. I was on this trip because I was the only qualified first aider (apart from my manager), and having a first aider is a minimum requirement for all excursions.

Despite the fact that I was in a theme park, this wasn’t by any means an easy excursion due to the language barrier and the amount of children going in all different directions. Languages have always been an interest of mine since I was posted to Germany due to my father’s military commitments.

I have always been keen to learn and in the years spent abroad I learnt the language and even made lasting relationships with people who grew up there. For me, I will carry a love of languages with me for life, however in this case Turkish wasn’t my strong point, or any point for that matter!

However the trip was a success and after the free time, the children all met us on time to board the bus back to Chester in time for tea and evening activity.

Looking Back

I learned many things during my time at UKLC and they stated that they will definitely have me back next summer. I was able to put my first aid to use, and actually deal with injuries such as collisions, concussions, muscle pain and cuts.

I was able to speak to others in my position and share experiences and I made some good friends along the way. I met an individual who studied sports management who had a job offer at a Football Academy in Sweden.

Who knows where my Football Business and Marketing Degree could take me in the future? I know I want to learn a new language and may consider Spanish, as it could open the door to a variety of opportunities over there.

All in all, I learned that although I was coaching different nationalities, even some from different continents; sport is a universal language which we can all enjoy.

Written by Luke Ball, BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student at UCFB