Evaluating and Selecting a Summer Soccer Camp
By Jacob Daniel, Georgia Soccer Director of Coaching
Soccer Camp sounds fun, but there are a billion out there to choose from. These tips and considerations are helpful for determining which camp is best for your player.
- Does your child want a residential camp or does he/she prefer a day camp? Some kids might get homesick if they stay at a residential camp. Is your child mature enough to stay at an overnight camp?
- Are you looking for an intense camp for the serious player or are you just interested in a fun camp with a soccer theme? Intense camps will likely have 3-4 sessions per day with an early rise and games in the evening. Fun camps will likely include activities other than just soccer, such as swimming, movies, evening fun leisure non-soccer games, etc.
- Are you sending an entire team to camp or are you looking to send your child on his/her own? Will he/she make friends easy if going alone or is it better to go with one or two teammates.
- How far are you willing to send your child? In the same city? Within driving distance? Flying distance?
- If it’s an older child (14-17 year old) and he/she wants to experience the college life, a residential college camp might be best.
- If it’s a young child (5-8 year old), a local club or YMCA camp is probably best.
- Even at the age of 9-12, kids are still too young for an intense camp and should attend one that has a variety of activities.
- Will the Camp Director be at camp the whole time or will the director be traveling all over the camp locations and delegate? This might be an important consideration if you are looking for exposure to a specific director or college coach. How effective is the director at imposing his philosophy on staff and monitoring the staff? Is there a curriculum?
- How many coaches are nationally licensed at the camp? A large number suggests a quality camp. A large number of non-licensed coaches or college players acting as coaches suggests emphasis on quantity over quality.
- Are the facilities well maintained? How is the quality of food and accommodations?
- Do they have Athletic Trainers, first aid kit and medical emergency plans? Is the equipment and field safe?
- Are you looking for natural beauty outdoors type of environment or can it be an urban camp environment?
- How much are you willing to spend? Day camps can range from $100 to $300 per week. Residential camps could range from $500 to $1,000 per week.
- When do you want to send the child to camp? If you are using a camp as preparation for an important tournament or another high level camp, be careful not to schedule the preparation camp too close to the important tournament. A week long camp in the summer is very draining. Space the events at least one week apart.
- If you are playing in a summer league, don’t combine a day camp with the club summer league. Spending all day at camp and then rushing to a club practice in the evening and then driving to a league game on the weekend is too much soccer.