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Harry Smith thrives in Head Coach role at EAFF Junior Camp

2023 EAFF Junior Camp Head Coach, Harry Smith embraces the future generation - Image: EAFF

Writes: Evan Halliday

The European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF) hosts annual junior camps, giving children from different countries and backgrounds an opportunity to see what amputee football is all about on an international scale.

This year was the sixth edition of EAFF’s flagship project seeing 70 children from 10 different countries all in attendance, led by EAFA’s very own Harry Smith, who worked alongside an experienced coaching team to plan and execute an impressive training regime.

“Harry first joined us last year in Tbilisi, Georgia and after witnessing his enthusiasm and natural passion for amputee football, alongside his amazing ability to communicate his passion to the children made him an ideal candidate to be the head coach of this year’s junior camp,” said EAFF’s General Secretary, Ian Clarke.

Reflecting on his time in Poland, Harry said: “I felt immensely proud to have been given the opportunity and I’d just like to thank the coaches I worked with for making my role as head coach a lot easier.

“I had been working hard before the camp, planning sessions, grouping our athletes and scheduling coaching meetings to ensure the vision for this year’s camp was clear and could be properly carried out.

“Once the camp had started, there was a huge sense of relief on my part, as I knew the coaching team could deliver a fantastic camp and they definitely went and did that.”

Juniors from various nations pictured alongside Małgorzata Mesjasz (third from left) of AC Milan Women and Harry Smith (second right) - Image: EAFF

The players who attend EAFF camps get access to a wealth of knowledge from the experienced staff on hand, allowing children to develop their skills from both the coaches of their home nation and their European counterparts, who may offer a varied perspective and a recipe for progression.

The children are all given the chance to represent their country whilst learning the skills and gaining the belief that will allow them to progress and go on to bigger and better things -representing their country on a competitive stage.

“There is a massive sense of pride throughout the footballers, the children feel special because they’re representing their country and they are seen as footballers and not players with a disability,” said Clarke.

“Our young outfielders have to play on their crutches and the progress on display has been amazing with many former attendants now playing for their national team.”

The camp's aim is to be dynamic, focusing on multiple key areas of technical improvement as well as guiding the youngsters psychologically.

Harry Smith alongside Ian Clarke come together in celebration of the 2023 EAFF Junior Camp - Image: EAFF

“There is a new theme each day, from the fundamentals of movement to finishing drills but there is always an attention on the mental attributes needed in the game too,” said Smith.

“We aim to design challenging but enjoyable sessions, providing a fun element in the days as well as encouraging athletes to engage with players from other countries, leading to everyone getting involved, with smiles on their faces,

“Although there was a language barrier, the one language everyone can understand is football.”

“For me, the camp was a huge success, I feel proud to have been given the opportunity and I feel as though everyone came away from the camp having learned something new, whatever it may be, I feel privileged to be a part of it,” Smith rounded the camp off.


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