Memorandum submitted by Challenger Sports
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
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.