There is a desire to learn in Independence. There might not be a desire from the state legislature to teach, but that's neither here nor there.

But the point here is that whether it be in education or in sports, the youth in this area want to absorb information and become better at what they do. Athletes especially want to continue playing the sports they love, and a big way to do that is learning from different resources and finding new ways to get better.

There's no clearer situation proving this than with the yearly Challenger British Soccer Camp that is run in association with the City Rec.

This was the fifth year in which the camp came to Independence, and this is a camp where international coaches are brought in to teach local athletes up to 18 years old more about the game of soccer.

This year two coaches from the United Kingdom were brought in. Callum Atkinson and Alex Reedy spent the week with the youngsters from around the area and put them through some of the highest levels of coaching they may have experienced in their time in the game.

This was the second year in which Atkinson has participated in coaching as part of the Challenger Sports Program. It was Reedy's first.

"It was an incredible week," Reedy said. "Incredible experience, a lot of fun as well. It was a great group as well, they're all so enthusiastic and they all worked so hard which is perfect."

Atkinson spent some eight weeks in the country last year, though he was working more in the Atlanta area. Though we say the Atlanta area, but he was really traveling all up and down the coast doing camps.

He went as far south as Florida and as far north as North Carolina. That is very much what he and Reedy will be doing this year as well, as they are likely to go down into Oklahoma and maybe Texas and as far north as even Canada.

It's a great experience for the youth to get coached by these individuals who have been playing soccer their entire lives, but it's also a great experience for 19-year olds like Atkinson and Reedy, who get the experience, or maybe more appropriately, the culture shock, of a program like this.

For Reedy this was his first time to leave the country and just the process of getting a work visa was more than enough life experience for the trip.

The two will be all over the place over the next few weeks, and will be heading up to Hays for a camp next week.

In their travels they spend a week with host families in town and that is exactly what they did this week in Indy. In year's past coaches have stayed with city rec commissioner Nick McBride.

Families though have been more than happy to open their homes to young men like Atkinson and Reedy and being in small town America like this has certainly been different for the young men.

"It's quieter," Atkinson said. "I've been to a lot of big cities, so it's quieter, it's a nice area, everything's in a 10-mile radius, because in other cities I've been traveling 40 minutes to get to camp, so I like it."

But while everything may be bigger, and for the most part infinitely different than what Reedy and Atkinson are used to in at home, what is very much the same is that the youngsters in town want to learn.

Though that is even a little bit different as well, as the amount players at home are willing to learn is very different than what youth in Indy wants to learn.

"Over here most of them are willing to learn because it's a new sport for them," Atkinson said. "And in England you're playing since you're maybe two, three years old, so when I've been coaching the local team at home they think they know most of it all and they try to answer back there, but over here, they just sit down, listen to you, and are willing to learn."

"I've found that about here as well," Reedy said. "They are all just willing to learn, they all want to learn about soccer so much more, because they're developing that so much in the U.S."

And obviously Independence is a town where a lot of youngsters want to learn soccer. A lot of them are good at soccer and more of them want to get better.

Having won a state title just a few years ago, the town of Independence is thirsty for more, and where those state titles will start in the future is at camps like this one.

Atkinson and Reedy certainly saw some of that in their week in town.

"I've been at some good camps and I'll say this is a good camp," Atkinson said. "And I've been at some very bad camps, but kids are kids, they all want to learn over here, some do, some just try to mess about, last year, there was a couple of times it felt like I was babysitting, not coaching, whereas this week I felt like I was actually coaching in them something and helping them learn."

And for a young man like Atkinson, he really wants to coach young athletes that want to learn.

He wants to be a coach in the future and this is certainly a way to make that happen. Not a lot of college students get the opportunity to travel and teach young athletes how to get better and actually make an impact in the process. 

Atkinson certainly made an impact here.

And for another young man like Reedy, while he may not want to be a coach in the future, with where he hopes to go camps like this will help him learn more about the culture of soccer in American, and the thirst for more of it in small towns like this.

"I study marketing, so I think once I finish university I'd love to go into the marketing side of soccer and work with soccer clubs as well," he said.

There may be no better demographic in marketing soccer right now than in the United States, so Reedy certainly has the right idea.

And the idea to have these kind of camps across the United States where some 150,000 campers have been coached up by young men like Atkinson and Reedy, has been very effective.

Young athletes want to learn, the soccer players in Independence want to learn and they certainly had a chance to learn something this week, there is no denying that.

"I just thought these kids helped us have a really good camp and gave their all," Reedy said. "They all listen all the time which is perfect, so I couldn't have asked for more in this camp."