For elite players, soccer camps offer more than just a chance to improve and develop skills. These clinics and showcases are an essential part of the recruiting process. College coaches use soccer camps to evaluate players and determine who will ultimately make their rosters. If you’re hoping to score an athletic scholarship, it’s vital to find soccer camps near you.
At typical collegiate soccer camps, you’ll train and compete with other top-level talents. The camp schedule may include having various group stations where players work on drills and exercises with coaches. This can give you the chance to interact closely with coaches while showing off your skills. Attendees will then be divvied into teams to play matches, which may or may not be full 11-on-11 with goalkeepers. Of course, in-match abilities can put a soccer recruit at the top of a program’s list.
For these collegiate soccer camps, it’s all about “identifying” athletes with the potential to compete at the next level. Collegiate soccer camps, along with youth club team tournaments, form the bedrock of the recruiting/evaluation process for Division I and II programs. Depending on the size and prestige of the soccer camp, there could be dozens of coaches from different schools observing and providing instruction. Young players should come to these elite-level events ready to compete and learn.
There are a few different types of soccer camps and clinics for potential college recruits. Top-ranked players on youth club teams may get invited to elite soccer ID camps sponsored by club organizations, such as US Club Soccer. These overnight camps could last three to four days and provide some intense competition and evaluation. Also, some of the best soccer camps are held on college campuses. If an NCAA institution hosts an event, all ability levels will be accepted. However, there will be much high-level talent looking to get noticed by soccer recruiters.
No matter the host, the best elite soccer camps will provide attendees with multiple benefits. Players should be challenged, get some good recruiting exposure and learn from coaches. Part of the learning process also involves receiving much feedback. Scholarship hopefuls should seek and be accepting of tips and advice from coaches.
Before upperclassmen start vying for college roster spots, however, they must have proven abilities and confidence on the field. Such skills are often honed at youth soccer camps. While these programs aren’t designed for recruitment exposure, they help put players on the right path. The best youth soccer camps will develop skills through:
As far as sports go, soccer offers some of the best odds for high school players to advance to collegiate competition. Roughly 5-7% of male and female high school soccer players will compete on an NCAA team. While that number is better than some other prep sports, such as basketball, tennis, and track, it’s still a relatively small percentage of athletes. Reaching the next level and earning a scholarship requires a lot of work. This means attending soccer camps near you.
Soccer is especially popular for young boys and girls. Since the basics are easy to learn and don’t require much equipment, kids can catch on to the game right away. As players get older, they’ll start to pick up on the more advanced strategies and skills. This is when serious athletes can begin sowing the seeds for future success by attending soccer camps. While there are over 1,200 men’s and 1,400 women’s college soccer programs in the nation, getting a scholarship requires standing out from the crowd.
When you’re looking for soccer camps near you, you’ll find programs at different price points. The final cost will depend on various factors, including the camp length, facilities, number of instructors, overnight accommodations and more. For example, Nike soccer programs will generally run between $350 and $500 for five days. Shorter day soccer camps will usually cost under $300. Soccer training camps for elite players could cost between $500 and $700. These high school soccer camps often take place at higher-end facilities and include programs for specific positions like strikers or goalkeepers.
Prices will go up for overnight soccer camps. Since these programs include meals and boarding, expect to pay $750 or more. Prices are a bit lower for collegiate soccer camps and showcases, which are generally shorter. These camps could cost anywhere from $100 to $300 to attend.
Considering the vast amount of resources available online for athletic scholarship hopefuls, finding soccer camps often starts with a bit of internet research. Most universities and junior colleges with soccer teams will host camps during the offseason. However, not every camp with be right for your goals and skill level. Seeking recommendations from teammates and coaches is wise. If you can talk to any current college players, ask which soccer camps they attended.
When you’re doing your research, you’ll notice that a few soccer organizations that will often pop up. The following are some of the most notable soccer camps in the U.S.
IMG Academy Camps: The IMG Academy, a large sports-centered prep school in Bradenton, Fla., offers some of the best high school soccer camps in the nation. Attendees get access to state-of-the-art training facilities and world-class IMG coaches.
Exact Sports Adidas Soccer Camps: Every year, Exact Sports teams up with Adidas soccer to put on what is billed as the No. 1 ID camp in college soccer. It’s a series of 10 camps for boys and girls in five locations across the country. More than 1,000 college coaches attend these Adidas soccer camps to build connections with recruits.
Future 500 Soccer ID Camps: In addition to offering a showcase series for college coaches, the Future 500 features valuable recruiting educational seminars for players. This camp is all about providing opportunities for players of various skill levels, from D-I stars to potential D-III walk-ons. The Future 500 hosts one girl and two boys’ soccer camps. All of which attract 75-plus coaches.
Nike Soccer Camps: By partnering with US Sports Camps, Nike soccer offers hundreds of sessions in locations across 21 states. A typical Nike soccer camp will have attendees across a broad age spectrum split into groups based on skill level. The focus on fun and low coach-to-player ratio make the Nike soccer camp formula ideal for skills development.
Red Bull Soccer Camps: If you’ve ever wanted to train at a soccer camp affiliated with an MLS team, the New York Red Bulls have several programs for ages 7-18. These soccer summer camps are held at select locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Red Bull soccer camps are designed to cultivate local talent and provide a glimpse into the professional competition.
TCU soccer camps: There are a variety of excellent college soccer camps across the nation, but Texas Christian University in Fort Worth has some of the best programs for developing players. That’s because the academy is run by Eric Bell, the successful coach of TCU’s women’s program. TCU soccer camps, which are available for boys and girls, making use of some top-notch campus facilities.
When it comes to navigating the recruiting process, it’s always helpful to ask knowledgeable parties — coaches, alumni, fellow players. If you have any connections to staff members at local programs, ask when they will be having their best college soccer identification camps. Most programs will have multiple camps during the summer offseason (and a few in late spring). There are also several online resources that list all the collegiate soccer camps.
Spring and Summer Soccer Camps: Whether you’re looking at youth camps run by a local club team or Nike soccer, most will be held during the warm-weather months. The reasoning behind summer soccer camps is obvious — school is out, outdoor conditions are perfect for training and most prep seasons don’t start until autumn. There are also plenty of spring soccer camps that usually run during school break periods.
Winter Soccer Camps: The inclement weather of winter doesn’t lend itself to soccer play. However, that problem can be solved if you live near an indoor soccer facility. Serious development requires year-round training, which is why winter soccer camps are so helpful for a player who wants to stay active.
Day Soccer Camps: Most soccer camps are designed for commuters to spend the day training. Depending on the program, sessions could last anywhere from three to eight hours. Daytime soccer summer camps are ideal for younger kids and those who cannot commit to overnight stays.
Overnight Soccer Camps: As talented athletes develop the urge to continue playing soccer into college, overnight programs will become an essential next step. These camps give attendees the chance to dedicate several days to soccer and bond with fellow players. Furthermore, overnight soccer training camps offer a primer to the college athletics lifestyle.
For improving players, youth soccer leagues can only accomplish so much in developing skills. Camp drills and individual coaching are vital for every serious footballer. However, it’s necessary to choose a skills development camp that’s appropriate for your skill level.
Kids as young as 6 or 7 years old can start attending soccer camps. These programs will focus on the fundamentals of dribbling, passing, and teamwork. Once players reach their early teens, instructors will begin to introduce skills like throw-ins and scoring as well as some game strategy.
High school soccer camps will prepare young athletes for competitive prep season play. In addition to teaching more advanced skills for defensive and scoring situations, coaches may work in extra conditioning and physical training exercises. By the time players reach elite-level camps, they should be focused on addressing their weaknesses and preparing for college.
Soccer is unique among team sports for being nearly as popular for girls as it is with boys. Since both genders initially play at about the same skill level, coed skills camps are typical. Many early youth soccer leagues have both boys and girls. However, camps and leagues tend to split by gender as players reach their early teens. That’s why there are many girls soccer camps to address the differences in play.
In general, the girls game tends to be less focused on aggressive striking and heading the ball. There are also some differences in the speed of play. Girls soccer camps are generally led by instructors who have had experience playing and coaching in leagues for women. It’s important also to note that NCAA women’s soccer permits 14 scholarships per D-I team and 9.9 schoalrships per D-II team. The NCAA men’s soccer scholarship limit is 9.9 for D-I and 9 for D-II.
While development camps work on skills, soccer showcases are exposure events that allow elite upperclassmen to play in front of coaches. They are usually organized as tournaments between soccer recruits. In many cases, a player must be invited to play at a showcase. Getting an invitation often requires being recommended by one of your prep or club team coaches.
Combines are similar in that they are designed to let coaches evaluate the skills of potential recruits. Instead of presenting a regular match, however, combines pit players against each other in a series of skills tests. These events may test abilities such as speed (30-yard dash), leg power (vertical jump) and agility (5-10-5 shuttle). You’ll then be able to use your combine results as verified stats for your recruiting resume.
Aside from the evident qualities of on-field talent, a coach wants to recruit players who will fit into the team’s system. This often means filling a needed role and embracing the culture of the team. If you’re a striker, but your desired college only requires defenders, you may want to broaden your search.
One surefire way to stand out among other recruits is to have your academics in order. Coaches don’t want to worry about players who may have off-the-field issues. Therefore, it pays to be prepared for your studies and life away from home on campus.
It takes more than just excelling on your prep or club team to secure a college soccer scholarship. Unfortunately, recruiters only have so much time that they can devote to finding talent. In addition to attending collegiate soccer camps, you should be proactive in contacting coaches and getting the recruiting process initiated.
Next College Student Athlete helps scholarship hopefuls get discovered by recruiters. By maintaining a massive online recruiting network, NCSA connects athletes with coaches. More than 35,000 coaches use the platform to find players.
Since starting in 2000, NCSA has seen more than 100,000 of its clients commit to college programs. More than 90 percent of U.S. colleges with athletic programs have at least one NCSA client on their rosters. That successful track record is aided by the 700 employees who work hard to help clients. The goal is the make the college recruiting process a little less daunting for student-athletes.
If you want to earn a college soccer scholarship, don’t leave the process down to chance. Join NCSA today and create a free women’s soccer recruiting profile or a free men’s soccer recruiting profile. To learn more, you can browse the site or call or call with any questions at (866)495-5172.