Best Soccer Camps in United States 2018
Did you know that soccer is America’s third most played team sport today? With this fact in mind, is it any wonder that there is such a wide variety of soccer camps in the country? Soccer stands second only to baseball and basketball, when it comes to the number of players actively playing this sport.
Soccer was recognized as an immensely popular sport in America in the 1960s. Like most team sports, it has a special place in youth sports programs across the nation. Soccer camps started off as a purely recreational space. Run mostly during summer holidays, they were useful as exercise programs for kids.
Parents saw them as avenues for a healthy, energetic sport. These were significantly different from European Soccer Academies, which were run on more serious lines and designed to spot and nurture talent from a very early age.
In the last six decades, soccer camps have gained much popularity. America is actually the No. 1 country in the world, when it comes to youth participation. Over 3.9 million youngsters are registered with US Soccer, a number higher than any other country.
Of these 1.6 million are girls, while 2.3 million are boys. With so many players standing in line to make it big in professional soccer, the competition is tough, and the right soccer camps can help youth athletes get an edge over other players.
Types of Soccer Camps
As soccer makes deeper inroads into the American sports program, the nature of soccer camps has also undergone change. Along with small-time local camps, there are now a number of more professional camps.
Parents can choose from the many types of camps, depending on the needs and requirements of the young athlete. Day/commuter camps, overnight/residential camps, skill specific camps and instructional/developmental camps are the most popular options.
- The day camps are generally reserved for beginners and entry-level athletes. A little warm-up is usually followed by free style soccer. AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) camps are preferred options for beginners.
- Overnight camps offer a more intensive experience for campers. Waking up as a group and playing as a team changes the way youth athletes feel about the game. Along with intensive training schedules, young athletes also enjoy interaction with other players. Since most camps separate players depending on their skill level, summer soccer camps are also a great platform to compare skills with others in the same age and skill group.
The real popularity of soccer in the US can be seen in the development and growth of the third-party or professional camps. Here, players are coached by former professional soccer players, some of whom are from well-known European clubs.
Many of them have affiliations with known national bodies like US Soccer. Popular options include Manchester United Soccer Schools, F.C. Barcelona Soccer Camps, Joe Machnik’s No. 2 Soccer Camps, University of Georgia Soccer Camp and SoccerPlus Camps run by three-time world champion coach Tony DiCicco.
College Soccer Camps
College run camps like Texas Tech University Soccer Camp and Western Michigan University Soccer Camp are run by top collegiate coaches and assistants. These camps offer players a chance to understand the college’s sports program and get a taste of campus life, while they learn new soccer-playing techniques. Coaches too get a chance to see fresh players at their very best.
A number of athletic associations have their presence on college campuses. These include NCAA, NCCAA, USCAA and NAIA. Camps without a collegiate program can associate with NIRSA (National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association).
One of the top tournaments in the college soccer calendar is the NCAA Division I men’s soccer program. This nationwide men’s championship was expanded to include Division II and Division III to accommodate more colleges. Today, there are 204 teams in Division I, 207 teams in Division II, while Division III has 408 teams.
Choosing the Right Camp
Soccer camps are open to boys as well as girls. Generally, camps accept players between the ages of 5 years and 18 years. Depending on the reputation and brand of the soccer camp as well as the features and duration they offer, the cost of camps differ.
Before you make your choice, it is important to know the needs of the youth athletes. Once you know what you are looking for in a camp, the task of finding the right soccer camp becomes less daunting.
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