Connor’s skill taking him to England
When 14 year old Connor Shields attended the ‘Sports Camp Australia’, two-day clinic which came to Orange in the April school holidays, little did he know he was under the watchful eye of Camp Director, George Lazarou (of National Institute of Football) who scouts for youth development teams in England.
It was only when he had received a letter in the mail weeks later, stating he had been scouted to play in the 12-14’s team headed to England in September.
Connor’s Mum, Jane said, “He didn’t believe us when we told him.. we thought he’s not very excited? Do you understand that you are on the team? He said ‘wait? Am I on the team!?’ and then his eyes lit up, he was very excited, and still is.”
George explained it was Connor’s willingness to learn that made him stand out, “He was always hungry for more information. There is lots of hidden talent out west that never gets seen, so with these clinics we hope to discover more people like Connor.”
“This trip will open our players horizons, they will see how professionals work, and how much work they have to do to bridge the gap, unless they actually see it and experience it for themselves and they don’t understand or believe it.”
In a team of 20, Connor will be playing against the Youth Development Teams from Clubs including Manchester United, Sheffield and Stoke City.
For two weeks Connor will live like a true professional footballer, whilst also getting to watch the real thing - two premiere league games. “We will eat, sleep and breathe football. Our games will also be filmed and each night we’ll sit and watch back our game and look at what we can improve on. By the end of it I think I will enjoy football even more.”
Connor explained, “The training is full on, I pretty much train all day every day, personal training twice a week, football training twice a week, I was assessed by a Sport Scientist and he told me the areas I needed to focus on before I head over.” In the lead up to jetting off, Connor will spend every weekend training with the team, in Sydney.
“I’m enjoying the lead up and the suspension. The effort I’m putting in with training will be worth it in the end.”
Referring to the football clinic in April, Connor explained “I enjoyed everything about the camp, we focused particularly on drills and stamina. I think it’s something Orange football players should take part in. It’s a good opportunity to get coaching from Sydney coaches, I learnt new skills and I certainly wouldn’t have this opportunity if I didn’t go to the clinic.”
“It’s all I’ve ever done, and all ever wanted to do, I just enjoy getting outside and kicking a ball. I learnt most of my skills from my Dad, he was a very good soccer player. Dad coaches me in both soccer teams I am in, and I referee on weekends. I’m also learning Spanish in case I ever play in Spain I will know how to speak to the players.”
“My dream would be to get a scholarship over there so I can go to school and play football, I’d like to make it to the big leagues, I go for Manchester United, so to play for them would be a dream come true.”
All the best Connor, we can’t wait to hear about the experience when you return.