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For the love of the game: Valley camp unites kids from all cultures

PHOENIX -- Kids from all around the world are in town for the Valley's only international basketball camp.

"It's really enjoyable for me to watch the first day that these kids show for camp," said Future Stars International (FSI) CEO and ex-European basketball star Peter Ezugwu. "They don't know each other, they're very uncomfortable, there's a language barrier...and then they just start to play."

In that type of environment, basketball becomes an international language, he added.

"It's about full immersion, it's about exposure to things that they've never seen before, it's about language, and it's about creating uncomfortable-controlled situations where they can grow," explained Ezugwu.

The kids and coaches come from Italy, France, Canada, England, Nigeria and Congo to join kids from right here in the Valley.

"It's about learning American families, learning American culture, and in turn, American families learning European culture," he said.

The camp trains the kids for a month from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The international kids stay with host families, study English and tour the Southwest during their stay.

"Just think about it: These kids are used to practicing an hour and a half, three hours at the most. They come in here, they do seven hours in a day," he said. "That just creates toughness, almost by default."

Compared to their normal rate, the kids are training about six months of basketball in one month, he said. For information on all of the sports camps available in the Valley from FSI, click here.

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