Soccer Quest Academy, based out of Nelson, has had a strong presence in Merritt for close to 10 years now.

“We’ve been putting on week-long camps every summer for quite awhile,” said Quest owner and senior instructor David Spendlove. “We’ve also been involved in pre-season coaching clinics for Merritt Youth Soccer for the past several years.”

Spendlove and his coaching team have increased their visibility in the Nicola Valley even more this fall by offering an 18-week indoor program for young soccer players at Collettville School on Monday nights.

“We’ve got two groups at present,” said Spendlove, “a U11 group that meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and a 12-plus group that goes from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“The current session runs from September to the early part of December,” added Spendlove. “We’ll take a bit of a break and then offer another 18-week session starting in February.”

Spendlove said the weekly soccer sessions are all about teaching the basics of the beautiful game.

“We work on the Canadian Soccer Association’s LTPD (Long Term Player Development) program. It’s a grassroots skill development program that is used across the country.”

Spendlove really likes what he sees happening with youth soccer in the Merritt area.

“The people who run Merritt Youth Soccer, and have been involved for the last six to seven years, have done an excellent job in developing soccer in the community. We’ve given them a lot of help and they’ve done fantastic.”

The 58-year-old Spendlove has spent a good part of his life honing his craft.

“I originally came over to Canada from England in 1979,” he said. “At the time, I was just the third full-time head coach of a youth soccer program anywhere in Canada. Today, there are thousands.”

Spendlove worked in Toronto for almost 25 years before coming to Kamloops in 2001. After five years with KYSA, he decided to create the privately-run Soccer Quest Academy.

Today, Soccer Quest operates programs for over a thousand youngsters throughout the Kootenays and in communities like Kamloops and Merritt.

The easiest way to register for any upcoming Soccer Quest programs is to call their head office at 250-352-4625.