Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Millison hoping to score overseas adventure

April 17, 2002

For Basehor-Linwood High School junior Charles Millison only one thing stands between him and his dream. That one thing is the $3,000 that Millison is hoping to raise by July 1.

If successful, Millison would spend 20 days during July traveling around Europe playing soccer.

Millison received the opportunity thanks to a group called International Soccer USA. Each year the group takes a number of players, ranging in all ages, to Europe to experience soccer at the international level.

When Millison was 14 he attended a camp sponsored by the group. At that camp he was voted the Most Valuable Player in his age group and three years later he received the invitation to join the team overseas.

"Once I opened it, I knew exactly what it was," Millison said with a hint of excitement in his voice. "It just sounds really cool to represent the country in something like that."

More than 100 countries and 800 teams are expected to participate in the extravaganza, which is scheduled to begin in England July 8. The team will travel to England to work out for a few days before heading to Sweden to compete in the Gothia Cup. After the Gothia Cup, the team would then head back to England to take place in the Umbro/Manchester United Cup, another international soccer tournament.

Millison's first love is soccer, but the opportunity to travel the world is almost as appealing.

"I've never been overseas," he said. "So obviously that part would be really neat. But the soccer part would be great, too. I'd be playing soccer at a level I've never seen before, not to mention learning things from all of the different coaches who would be there."

For Millison, the ultimate soccer fanatic, the opportunity is a dream come true. In order to raise the money for the trip, he's hoping to help make others' dreams come true as well.

Millison is planning a soccer camp for children between the ages of 5 and 12 sometime in June. He said the camp would probably run for three days and would cost a small fee, probably $25 to $40 per camper. The obvious goal of the camp is to help raise the $3,000 Millison needs to fund his trip. But a look deeper shows the camp is much more about the future both Millison's and those of area soccer players than anything else.

"I'd like to get as many kids there as possible," Millison said. "It's not so much about the fund-raiser as it is about improving the level of soccer in the area. I'd like the kids to improve their skills and that would strengthen the soccer programs at both high schools (BLHS and Bonner Springs) and around the area."

Millison has other ideas in mind for his fund-raising mission. He plans on selling 30-gallon garbage bags, pledging support from local businesses and working for any money he can.

The only reason the camp is the most appealing part to Millison is because he wants to someday coach the game he loves to play. For now, however, he's focusing all of his time and energy on raising the money to get the chance of a lifetime.

"It's taking a lot of time, that's for sure," Millison said with a chuckle. "Most of my summer's already planned. But I know it'll all be worth it when I get over there and get to play soccer at that level with some of the best players in the world."

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