National Soccer Camps offer a channel for kids interested in soccer to pursue higher levels of competition, gain exposure to many coaches (often world class coaches), a chance to build unique memories, and to gain exposure on a much larger stage for those interested in college or professional soccer careers. This experience is not for everyone, but for those it serves, it can be a life changer. Our club, the Damascus Soccer Club in Maryland, formed a partnership with Global Image Sports (GIS) and the Stoke City Potters Academy in England to bring camps like this to players in the Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and DC region. Several kids came though our first camp this summer. A handful of kids qualified. I traveled with them to Georgia as they completed their National Camp experience. What follows will give you an insiders' look at the process we went through to bring National Camps to our region, to play through them as a player, and to coach through them as a coach. Getting To CampGetting to a National soccer camp is a process. The big steps are (open the tabs to see the bullet points within): Laying the GroundworkGetting the player readyGetting the agreements into placeGetting the Club readycheckEstablishing session planscheckGetting fields reserved, equipment and support staff into placecheckMarketing and communicationscheck Executing on logistics like airport pickup, housing, food, safety, etc.check Customer service / problem resolutionHosting ID CampBringing in coachesField setupcheckAge groupingsManaging sessionscheckSun and youth protectioncheckSignagecheckField cleanupcheckEquipment storagecheckWeather contingenciesInitial Performance and EvaluationcheckTechnical / TacticalSimple to complex trainingcheckBall handlingcheckRecognizing spacecheckGame intelligencecheckPhysicalcheckSpeed and agilitycheckPsychosocialOff-the-field elements like sportsmanship, attitude, and fitnesscheckEmotionalcheckWho really wants to be here?checkComposurecheckApplying and increasing pressureSorting checkContext specific activitiesSelectionMost of the same elements found in Initial Performance and EvaluationEmphasis on what was established (what to look for) in step 1 Top 20% from the state levelPayment and TravelcheckInitial ID camp starts the process and this should be $200 or lessEveryone who gets an invitation pays to get to National ID camp. Expect between $600 - $1,000.Travel and lodging for parents and guests is not includedLogistics for getting to/from public transportation like airports or train stationscheckAdditional road trips before or after campPerformance and EvaluationcheckTechnical / TacticalSimple to complexcheckBall handlingcheckRecognizing spacecheckGame intelligencecheckPhysicalcheckSpeed and agilitycheckPsychosocialOff-the-field elements like sportsmanship, attitude, and fitnesscheckEmotionalcheckWho really wants to be here?checkComposurecheckApplying and increasing pressureSorting checkContext specific activitiesSelectionMost of the same elements found in Performance and EvaluationEmphasis on what is needed at the next level (what is needed to play in development or academy) Top 5% from the national levelGetting a single player to a National camp like the one we just participated in takes a a team of people several months to coordinate. It can take years, depending on local competition, for coaches and players to get individual players ready to compete effectively for the slots available. The process from a player's perspective is pretty simple. 1. Get into shape and have the desire to compete. 2. Find a Club in your area that's hosting a camp 3. register 4. Pay special attention to those non-technical items like attitude, sportsmanship, work ethic, etc. 5. Show up and give it your all!From a parent's perspective, recognizing and supporting desire in your child is probably step one. This means getting them into club or school practice and play environments, driving, paying the bills, shopping for gear,
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