To be the best, you must learn from the best: Duluth youth atten - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

To be the best, you must learn from the best: Duluth youth attends West Ham ID Camps

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The focus isn't on the past or even so much the present in the West Ham Academy ID Camps ---- It's on the future.

"Knowing your pass before it comes to you," said 15-year-old Peyton Marshak. "That's definitely a huge thing that they try to install in you." 

It's called the 'West Ham Way,' and the goal is to install that in Duluth youth soccer.

"To be technically good is key, but in addition to that, West Ham has their certain things they look for in players," said Gitchi Gummi Soccer Club development coach Barry Chastey. "They want you to think ahead."  

"It's the football brain," said West Ham Academy assistant director Paul Heffer. "You have to have a good football brain to go to the top level." 

That top level is where West Ham United resides in the English Premier League. 

"They bring over immense amount of knowledge for kids to learn from, develop from, and carry out into games," said Gitchi Gummi Soccer Club coach Daniel Hedstrom. 

For the 12th straight year, coaches from the West Ham Academy are scouring the globe to identify which players could one day play for West Ham United. 

"It's a world game now," said Heffer. "So you have to get out there and pick up what talent you can." 

Again this month, Duluth was one of their stops. More than 200 boys and girls, ages nine through 18, participated at the College of St. Scholastica over three days. 

"I like the skill training and the sessions we get," said 14-year-old Emilia McGiffert. "I think all the drills we do are pretty cool. I have definitely learned a lot." 

If the coaches like what they see, players get invited to West Ham's national camps, which run each August in Georgia and Arizona. 

If they make the cut from there, it's on to London for a week of training at the West Ham Academy. 

"You get to experience what it's like to be an academy player for a week," said Hedstrom. "And that's a soccer kid's dream." 

Quite a few Northland soccer plays have experience that dream, and only time will tell who will be next.

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