Montco Select organizes overseas trips for soccer teams.
Some local youth soccer players are getting ready for an exciting overseas trip this summer.
Montco Select organizes an annual trip to Ireland, and this year’s weeklong trip is set for July 22–30.
This year’s teams have already been selected, but it’s not too early to start planning for the 2019 trip.
And registration is being taken for skills-based summer camps for boys and girls ages 7–14 at three locations in the area. The dates are July 9–13 at St. Hilary of Poitiers in Rydal, July 16–20 at Hulmeville Soccer Club in Langhorne and July 23–27 at Sole Futsal Center in Huntingdon Valley.
Professional players from Ireland conduct the camps, teaching different drills and allowing the players to hear different voices.
“That’s the good thing about the camps,” said Kevin McCoy, a Fox Chase resident and general manager of Montco Select. “They knock it out of the park.”
Rob Brown, a Parkwood resident who handles marketing, advertising and coaching for Montco Select, said the camps are not meant to be babysitting services. He said youths will have fun and improve as players.
“The value is really high for players looking to get better,” he said.
As for the upcoming trip to Ireland, players will compete in the Limerick Cup at the University of Limerick, set along the River Shannon in Munster province, not too far from the southwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s a beautiful, sprawling campus,” McCoy said.
The upcoming trip will be the eighth organized by Montco Select. More than 3,000 people have traveled with the club over the years.
In all, there will be eight teams, four boys and four girls. Following tryouts, teams were divided into Pennsylvania East, Lehigh Valley and New York/New Jersey.
Montco Select draws players from Baltimore to New York. They practice a half-dozen times a year in preparation for the trip to Ireland, where they play four or five games apiece in a round-robin, championship and consolation format.
Tryouts and practices are held at Sole Futsal Center, 3971 Mann Road in Huntingdon Valley, where Brown is general manager.
“We do very well,” Brown said. “We’ve never had a losing record, any of the teams.”
In fact, McCoy recalls a referee at last year’s Cup say, “The day of the Yanks not being good are over.”
McCoy said the trip begins for real when planes land on Irish soil at Shannon Airport.
“It’s an amazing cultural and soccer experience and a family vacation,” he said.
Players and their families stay in student apartments. The Football Association of Ireland provides pre-Cup training. After the competition, players usually get a chance to attend a professional game, and some are invited to play on the field at halftime.
The 2019 trip is open to boys and girls born in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, along with high schoolers in ninth through 11th grades.
The price is $1,600 for players and $1,500 for family members. The cost includes lodging, meals and training. Airfare, which is relatively cheap at the moment, is separate.
There is plenty of time for non-soccer activities, such as riding go-karts, watching Irish dancing and visiting the Cliffs of Moher.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the experience and growing as a player,” McCoy said. ••