Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Challenger Sports Corporation

  I am writing from Kansas City in the US. (I am originally from Porthmadog, Gwynedd.) I am also a director with Challenger Sports, which each summer hosts approximately 1,000 soccer camps throughout the USA. (This past summer saw our numbers reach 60,000 campers.)

  We currently have nine Welshmen on our full time staff and employ many more during the summer months to coach the camps.

  Our organisation also takes youth soccer teams (and their families) over to Wales each summer. This summer will be our tenth year in hosting such trips. We are anticipating taking about 500 total travellers this coming year. They will stay for two to three weeks and participate in soccer tournaments (The "Ian Rush" in Aberystwyth) and various friendly matches. These games are arranged around a full sightseeing itinerary.

  These travelling groups also spend time in other parts of Britain, but we consistently receive feedback that they enjoyed Wales with its spectacular scenery and its culture the most. Our travellers are also impressed by the passion and pride that the Welsh has for our country and heritage.

  So, being a Welshman abroad it is very frustrating to hear the lack of international focus on Wales. Wales is often neglected in any talk of the British Isles. In fact, a common misconception here in the US is that Wales is a city within England.

  So, is there anything that we can do to further promote Wales to our clients? I would be very happy to help in any way possible.

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