Attending a youth soccer camp is a great place to learn new skills, make new connections, and enjoy the game of soccer more.
With so many options available in almost every area, how do you find a youth soccer camp right for your child? This article will help you answer this question and more!
Researching Youth Soccer Camps
The first step is to research different youth camps in your area. Consider your child’s age, skill level, and interests as you start the research process.
When you’re researching various soccer camps, it’s important to consider factors such as:
- Level of Competition
- Playing environment – outdoor or indoor or both
- Refund Policy (you just never know when things come up)
Some camps are geared towards beginners, while others are more advanced and require a higher level of skill. This matters.
You should also think about what your child wants to get out of the camp – do they want to focus on a specific skill, do they want a more well-rounded experience, or do they want to just hang out with their friends?
There are several ways to research and find the right one. Here are some methods to consider:
Google Your Area
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to find a youth soccer camp is to search online.
Just Google ‘youth soccer camps in [enter your town]’. This should provide you with a good amount of results for camps within your proximity.
When you find a camp that looks interesting, be sure to read the website carefully and look for reviews from previous campers and their parents. This can give you a better idea of what the camp is like and whether it’s a good fit for your child.
Asking for Recommendations
Another way to find a good youth soccer camp is to ask for recommendations from friends, family, and/or local soccer coaches.
If your child currently plays on a soccer team, their coach may be able to recommend a camp that’s a good fit for their skill level and interests.
You can also ask other parents whose children have attended soccer camps in the past.
When you ask for recommendations, be sure to ask specific questions about the camp, such as the quality of the coaching, the level of competition, and the overall experience. All of this can help you make a more informed decision.
Check-in with Local Soccer Clubs
You can also check with local soccer clubs and organizations to see if they offer summer soccer camps. Most clubs host their own camps, which can be a great way for your child to improve their skills and make new friends in a familiar environment.
In our case, my son’s soccer club hosts many week-long camps that are open to the general public. They also hold specialized camps for shooting, goalkeeping, etc. Lastly, they hold a camp just for Academy kids. Each one provides specific benefits to the player.
You can also check with your local parks and recreation department to see if they offer any soccer camps or clinics.
Preparing to Attend a Soccer Camp
Equipment and Gear
If you are planning on attending a soccer camp, it is important to bring the right equipment and gear.
First, you will need a pair of soccer cleats that fit well and are comfortable to wear for long periods. Make sure to break them in before camp starts to avoid blisters. Some camps are 5+ hours of soccer which makes it fun but taxing on the legs.
You will also need shin guards, which are obvious for any soccer player.
It is a good idea to bring a few pairs of socks to change into throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated and a bag to carry all of your gear.
Some camps also require players to bring their own soccer balls. Here are our recommended soccer balls for this year.
You may also want to pack small snacks so you’re fueled up during the day.
Soccer camp can be physically demanding, so it is important to prepare your body ahead of time.
Start by gradually increasing your physical activity level in the weeks leading up to camp. This can include running, jogging, or doing other cardiovascular exercises. Especially for summer camps, it can be easy to not do much leading up to it but you’ll probably regret it.
Additionally, work on improving your flexibility and agility through stretching and other exercises.
Ensure you get plenty of rest leading up to camp to ensure your body is ready for the physical demands.
In addition to physical preparation, it is important to mentally prepare for soccer camp.
You should go into the week not overthinking it. Instead, go there with the mentality to improve your soccer game and have fun. This is probably the most important advice we can give you.
You don’t need to be the best. If a coach puts you in with a younger group, so be it. Just go out there…get better and have fun!
Tips for Success
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your youth soccer camp experience:
- Arrive early and prepare: Ensure you have all the necessary equipment, including cleats, shin guards, and a water bottle. Check with the camp beforehand to see if there are any additional items you need to bring. Arrive the first day early to check in.
- Listen to your coaches: The coaches at the camp are there to help you improve. Listen to their feedback and follow their instructions to get the most out of your training. If something is unclear, ask them to elaborate.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated during long days on the field. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. For younger players, there might not be someone telling you to stay hydrated as Mom or Dad do so it’s your responsibility to replenish your body.
- Take breaks when needed: It’s okay to take a break if you feel tired or sore. Don’t push yourself too hard and risk injury.
- Stay out of trouble: Especially during overnight camps (for teenagers), it’s important to realize why you are there. Don’t get into trouble while you are there. Your parents DON’T want a call to pick you up.
- Have so much fun: Soccer camp is a great opportunity to meet new people and improve your skills. Enjoy the experience and have fun!
Now that you have read through this guide, you have a better understanding of how to find a youth soccer camp that is right for you.
Again, remember to consider your skill level, age, location, and budget when researching camps.
Don’t expect to see an hour-by-hour itinerary. But, at the same time, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the camps.
If your budget allows, consider trying multiple camps and note which ones you would attend again next year.
Soccer camps should be an extension of training. You can always practice at home during the off-season. There are plenty of things to do to stay in shape and improve your overall soccer skills. Best of luck!