Soccer, the world’s favorite game, is an inspiration for language learners
The excitement of this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia reverberated around the world, creating thousands of new fans, drawn in by unexpected results and the diversity of the game’s stars. Although the final match was an all-European affair, it pitted tiny Croatia, with a population of just four million, against the multiethnic French team, largely comprising second-generation immigrants from France’s former colonies. Hopefully, France’s victory will help to heal some of the cultural rifts in the country and be a catalyst for integration. The international nature of the game, with top clubs often fielding teams of more than five nationalities and coaches working worldwide, presents plenty of language problems and language-learning opportunities. To capitalize on the enthusiasm for the game, language and soccer camps have sprung up worldwide. Here’s a selection:
Soccer Camps International
In business for over 19 years, Soccer Camps International offers soccer camps in Europe with language immersion programs for children seven to 18 years of age. Students have access to exclusive soccer clubs’ training sites, new cultural experiences, and excursions to major European cities, all while studying a new language. With over 15 world-class European soccer camps to choose from, families can select soccer and language camps in France, Spain, and England:
ENGLAND: Chelsea FC Foundation Soccer Schools, Manchester City Football Performance Program, Manchester City Football Language School, Arsenal Soccer Schools, Liverpool FC Residential Language Camps, Brighton FC Soccer Schools and Language Camp
SPAIN: Real Madrid Foundation Soccer Camps, FC Barcelona Soccer Camps, Atletico Madrid Soccer Camps, Spain Federation National Team International Soccer Camp
FRANCE: Paris Saint Germain Academy, Bordeaux Cap Girondins Soccer Camps
The International Fútbol X-Change is a premier international soccer organization providing total immersion programs to soccer players from around the world. Since 2003, they have sent hundreds of players to experience soccer and life in a variety of international destinations. Their expertise in managing the complex demands and issues surrounding playing and living overseas enables players to hit the ground running and focus on their game and new life in an exciting new world. On offer are over 20 unique soccer and study programs in five different countries, varying from one-week international soccer camps with Europe’s most renowned clubs to full season/academic-year programs. With the International Fútbol X-Change, not only do participants benefit from their international partner soccer-club network, but IFX also arranges all of the essential components a player needs in order to live abroad, including procuring short- or long-term accommodations; enrollment into academic institutions including high schools, colleges, language schools, and universities; supporting the student visa process; and providing ongoing local support and guidance in the host country.
Xplore (UK: English)
English Plus Football camps are designed for students who want to play and improve their soccer skills and develop English language skills alongside other like-minded fans and is best suited to those with prior football experience. This two-week camp consists of one to two football training sessions per day (except excursion days), delivered in English, supported by English language lessons, and is available at three camp locations—Framlingham College, Worksop College, and Pangbourne College during the summer. Training sessions take place on both indoor and outdoor pitches where Ferienfussball coaches take the time to improve technical ability, enhance individual skills, and practice team building.The aim throughout the camp is that everyone is supported according to his or her individual criteria and abilities. The course will also include the chance to play against a local team in a friendly match, where students can test their new skills and experience against international players. Upon completion of the camp, students will be awarded with a t-shirt and certificate.
A special highlight of the English Plus Football camp is that players go on a stadium tour during one of their excursions. At Framlingham College and Pangbourne College, they visit Arsenal Emirates Stadium, and at Worksop College, players visit Old Trafford in Manchester.