U.S. stars for Arie Smith Football Camp

Allie Long, Indi Cowie, and Sofia Huerta are the featured guests at the 2017 camp.

Young footballers are being given a chance to sharpen their skills, while meeting professional players at the 4th Annual Arie Smith Football Camp hosted by the Dream Out Loud Foundation.

The free camp takes place Monday, 18 December, at Ed Bush Sports Complex in West Bay from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Special guests on hand will be US national women’s player Allie Long of the Portland Thorns, who returns for a second consecutive year and fellow American national player Sofia Huerta, who plays professionally with the Chicago Red Stars.

Indi Cowie is set to wow campers (Courtesy: www.indiecowie.com)

Another special guest at the tournament is Indi Cowie, a 23-year-old who became a professional freestyle footballer after a knee injury ended her playing career.

Arie Smith, a Cayman Islands national player, is the woman behind the event. She explained what’s in store for youngster wo turn up for the camp at the start of their Christmas break from school.

“The kids are all coached by Premier League coaches from our local teams here, former and current national team players. They’ll be running through various basic group drills with them,” Smith said.

“They will also get to mix and mingle with the pro athletes. They will get to talk to them, ask them questions about their career and their goals. They’ll also get to see them demonstrate their skills, especially Indi Cowie – she has some amazing skills and she’ll be showing them off that day.”

Usually, the camp attracts one featured guest, with Long last year and another US national player Carli Lloyd previously. Smith said having three stars is part of the evolution of the camp into a bigger attraction. “That’s part of making the event bigger and better. Every year, we are going to expand it and bring more people for the kids to look up to,” she told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

Allie Long and Arie Smith at the 2016 camp.

On the evening prior to the camp, the three stars will also attend the 2nd Annual Dinner for a Dream at Ristorante Pappagallo. Tickets cost $60 for a three-course dinner, entertainment, prizes and an auction.

“Proceeds go toward getting two of our young female footballers off to an NCAA Division II university,” Smith said, adding that there are few remaining. Tickets can be purchased by calling 929-1561 or 916-3977.

Smith, who plays with Scholars International in the local women’s league, started the camp a few years ago, to give back to the community through the sport that has given her so many enjoyable moments.

“It’s just a way to give back. Football has always been my passion and it always will be. I knew I wanted to give back through football,” she said.

Around 150 boys and girls showed up last year.

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