A Soccer Camps Overview
Many high school soccer players look to play NCAA soccer. However, only 6% of boys players and 7% of girls players are able to make that jump. What sets them apart? One of the things that does is learning and creating more exposure for themselves at soccer camps. It's great to be a part of a top high school and club teams, but more should be done on top of that to get to the next level. For example, soccer training camps allow players to learn skills from top coaches that can be carried over to their play for their teams.
What are sports camps? They consist of extensive practice and match-like sessions over periods of time that can range from a few hours to a few months. Coaches tend to have a tremendous amount of experience, either as a coach or as a player. Collegiate soccer camps will generally involve the coaching staff of that college team as well as several of its players. A soccer summer camp as well as one that takes place at other times of the year can focus on specific types of skills or positions, or they can be more general in nature.
In most cases, any players can attend camps. However, that is sometimes not the case with elite and similar types of camps. If you're looking to attend one of those, research or contact the camp to determine if there are requirements that must be met and if you are able to meet them. Sometimes, approvals are judgement calls made by coaches and organizers at the camps and are not a black-and-white issue.
Soccer camps near me
As you start to consider which youth soccer camps to attend, one of the first questions that you ask yourself is, "Are there any soccer camps near me?" Fortunately, the answer is, for most players, "Yes." Take a look at the following resources to see where camps are situated throughout the country and the world. Also, make sure to consider that traveling to a far-away soccer camp may be in your best interests for a number of reasons. Perhaps it's located at a school that you're considering attending and playing for. Maybe your family has already planned a trip near it and has time to incorporate a soccer camp into it.
If you're looking to participate in a Nike soccer camp, you have plenty of options to choose from. There's even a Nike soccer camp in Wimborne, England, as well as a few in the London area. However, the vast majority of them are in the United States.
Several different types of organizations play host to soccer camps. Here's a list of some of the more popular ones that are not hosted by colleges:
- IMG Academy Soccer Camps
- No. 1 Soccer Camps
- Future 500 ID Soccer Camps
- Red Bull Soccer Camps
- Carolina Elite Soccer Academy
IMG Academy soccer camps are some of the lengthiest offered; many are three weeks long. No. 1 soccer camps focus solely on this sport. They've trained 85,000 of the top high school and club players since 1977. Future 500 ID soccer camps provide a considerable amount of visibility as you can play in front of 75 coaches while there. Red Bull soccer camps are attended primarily by those in New Jersey and New York although some campers come from Connecticut, Pennsylvania and further away. Carolina Elite Soccer Academy provides similar options to those in and near the Carolinas as well as for those who fly in.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of college soccer teams play host to soccer camps. Here are a few of note:
Stanford soccer camps are hosted by a pair of the most prestigious college soccer teams in the country. The Cardinal men won the NCAA championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017 while the Cardinal women did the same in 2011, 2017 and 2019. Meanwhile, the Denver Pioneers have been especially impressive on the men's side, advancing to the NCAA College Cup in 2016, while DU's women's side advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2012. Carthage provides outstanding coaching on the banks of Lake Michigan.
Soccer training camps
When at a soccer camp, players tend to engage in a number of soccer drills. Film work and discussions of tactics, teamwork and the strategic aspects of the sport are often included in the camping experience. Sometimes, coaches will show the campers videos of professional players and discuss aspects of their play with them. The soccer training itself often occurs in two groups: goalkeepers and field players. In many cases, the field players are subdivided further into position groups. As a result, they can receive soccer training that's unique to that position. In many cases, players are divided into teams, and matches are played.
Types of soccer drills
Several types of drills tend to take place at these camps. Soccer passing drills can include the four corners passing game. One of the other soccer passing drills that is often used is the hot-box passing and receiving drill. Amongst the soccer shooting drills are ones that practice shooting from a square pass. It's also recommended by many to engage in soccer shooting drills that incorporate one-touch shooting.
Soccer defense drills help players learn how to do things like pressure, cover and balance individually and as part of a team. Soccer conditioning drills provide players with quality information on how to improve their physical ability. Speed drills do the same, but they can also show you how to use your speed when going on runs, dribbling and defending.
Soccer summer camps and winter soccer camps
Most camps related to this sport take place in the summer and the winter. However, the majority are soccer summer camps. A soccer summer camp provides opportunities to play in warmer conditions, regardless of location. Conversely, soccer winter camps need to be held in temperate climates or at indoor venues in places like the Northeast and Midwest. One of the most prestigious overnight soccer camps is the FC Porto Valencia High-Performance Academy, which is held just outside Valencia, Spain. However, this one is extensive, lasting five or 10 months. That isn't possible for many people.
Some camps, including the FC Porto-Valencia one, are elite camps, meaning that they often require approval before being allowed in. The most significant benefit of these is that those who participate tend to receive especially high-quality competition while there. You'll likely be pushed more than would be the case at one of the overnight soccer camps that's open to everyone.
Soccer camp breakdowns
In general, boy’s soccer camps and girls soccer camps are kept separate. However, in some cases, boy’s soccer camps and girls soccer camps will take place simultaneously at the same facility. Otherwise, camps are generally either team camps and individual camps. The former provides soccer training and other activities for entire or nearly entire high school and club teams. Increasing cohesiveness, both physically and mentally, amongst a team's players is often addressed. The latter allows individual players to join on their own and take part in activities and team-oriented events there with new and temporary teammates.
Camps and recruiting
If you're looking to play soccer in college, taking part in these camps is a great way to combine honing your skills with showcasing your talent to potential coaches. You should strongly consider attending camps at schools that are high on your list. Although it's not a perfect introduction to that program, it'll give you a feel for the coaching style of the team's coaches and what it's like to experience life on that campus. If you do this, you should contact the recruiting coordinator or appropriate member of the coaching staff and let them know that you will be there.
However, with that said, do note that the coaches at these camps are there to provide soccer training and pieces of insight to all of the campers on an equal basis. Scouting prospective talent is not their priority. However, it can be a nice side benefit to all parties involved.
Soccer clinics and soccer showcases
It's important to note what soccer clinics and soccer showcases are. Clinics is a term that's mostly interchangeable with camps. Showcases are events that are focused on showcasing your skills. Coaches will watch you or receive tape or reports on how you performed there. Learning is not the priority for you. Yes, absolutely soak up knowledge during showcases too; that just shouldn't be your focus.
College soccer identification camps are a type of elite camps. They're designed for those who are looking to continue playing at college and, in many cases, earning at least a partial scholarship while doing so. Soccer ID camps allow you to combine learning more about the sport, being amongst players as competitive as you are and showcasing your skills. As a result, soccer ID camps may be the best option for you if you are amongst those looking to play NCAA or NAIA soccer.
Soccer recruiting: Next steps
Although taking part in camps is an important step in the recruiting process, it's just one of many for both prospective men's soccer players and prospective women's soccer players. Note that most recruiting efforts get underway during your junior year or in the summer immediately preceding it. However, between a fourth and a fifth of college coaches start evaluating players during or before their sophomore year of high school. As you engage in this process, you should also be asking yourself if you're ready for the demands of college, on the pitch and in the classroom.
One of the ways to learn if you're ready for those demands as they relate to the sport itself is to take into account recruiting guidelines. These are generally similar for men's and women's players. For example, a player looking to play D1 soccer as a center defender will need to have a great first touch, be able to win headers and know where to position themselves to stop attacks. Communication and speed are also important elements to have. Conversely, a D1 forward should have outstanding one-on-one ability and be able to combine power and accuracy well when shooting.
It's also good to keep average heights for those playing at these schools in mind although these aren't as important a factor as they are for basketball and volleyball players. However, they are still one, especially for goalkeepers.
Many of those who are looking to play in college consult the services of Next College Student Athlete. NCSA is the largest collegiate athletic recruiting network in the world and has been helping players make that transition since it was founded in 2000. In that time, more than 100,000 high school student-athletes have joined the NCSA network and made the transition to college rosters. Additionally, 35,000 coaches have joined the NCSA community. They're pleased at how this organization also helps them find the best fits as it relates to players joining their schools and teams.
One of the most important missions that NCSA has is educating student-athletes on the recruiting process, from your freshman year of high school to National Signing Day and beyond. Staff members help you create short- and long-term plans and goals to achieve as you go through high school. One of the best things that you can do is create an NCSA profile, which is free to do. Think of this like your online athletic resume. Feel free to fill yours today. If you have any questions about it or about what NCSA can do for you during this oftentimes confusing time of your life, call 866-495-5172.