Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Coaches and players from West Ham United are in Duluth, Minn. this weekend for a three-day soccer tutorial with area youth players, and a chance to one day play for the English Premier League club may come out of it.
The instructors are in the Northland for a second straight year as part of the United States leg of the club's identification camp, from which players are chosen to come to a nationwide and ultimately worldwide tryout to perhaps join the West Ham United academy.
Ian Bishop, who also played for West Ham for nine seasons and was captain of the club from 1990-92, says this weekend for the kids is about both soccer and life.
"The look on their face when they get something that you teach them. You know, first of all you showed them something and they're like 'Oh, I can't do that'" Bishop said. "And within two minutes they've got it and you see they're different people. It's not about football. It's they're different people. The biggest compliment I've had is, even with 17- and 18-year olds, you've made my son a better person, not a better footballer, you know."
Last year 17 players from the area were invited to the nationwide identification camp in Georgia. From there, Duluth East's Emma Spooner was chosen to accompany the team to England for a week of training.
This year, more than 225 players from around the area are participating in the weekend camp, with coaches also able to join in and pick the instructors' brains about how to better teach the game to kids here in the area.