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Euro Football Club creates another 'British Invasion'

Forty years after the first British Invasion, Euro Football Club has started a second invasion, this one in Rochester.

Instead of the mop-heads from Liverpool, guys wearing shorts and "boots" are invading the Rochester area. (The boots are actually cleats, and Euro Football is not about a pigskin, but a soccer ball -- what the rest of the world calls a "football".)

Euro Football Club (EFC) is a local youth soccer club that hires professional British coaches to come to Rochester each summer. The 2005 season will be EFC's second year, with 10 teams (up from five last season). More than 100 players have registered so far, with additional players being added.

The EFC program focuses on practice, or what the British call "training." The difference between EFC and most U.S.-based youth programs is that EFC teams train during the week (no weekday games) and play in tournaments about every other weekend, starting in May. This extended training time with an experienced professional soccer coach for 10 to 12 weeks during the summer improves player confidence, skill and understanding when playing soccer.

EFC has tweaked its program based on feedback from coaches and families involved in the 2004 summer season. This coming season will have teams with a shortened roster size. The British coaches prefer limited substitutions so they can watch the players develop a flow or rhythm when playing soccer. Thus, the players get extended minutes on the field. The players like the idea of playing more and sitting less.

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The second change is that U13 and older teams will practice Monday through Thursday, and the younger teams will only practice twice a week. With two practices a week, the younger players can investigate other sports, but still receive quality training in soccer.

The final change EFC will undergo this summer is to deal with four British coaches. Two of the coaches, Chris Belcher and Paul Homer, are returning from the 2004 season. Both coaches look forward to continuing the training of the EFC players. Chris and Paul are seeking out two additional coaches suited to the EFC program.

Typically, professional coaches are hired by clubs to work with numerous youth teams. EFC minimizes the number of teams per coach to maximize the benefit to the players.

So, the Rochester area will experience its own invasion of the Fab Four this spring. But instead of coming with long hair and guitars, they will be wearing shorts and have a soccer ball at their feet.

This column was submitted by Euro Football Club leaders Stan Kuramoto and Teresa Felmlee.

For more information about Euro Soccer Club, visit www.efcsoccer.org, or call 775-7416 or 285-5148.

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