Return to newsletter.

Tips for Choosing The Right Soccer Camp

As summer approaches, many parents face the annual challenge of trying to choose a soccer camp with the proper mix of fun, safety and opportunity for technical and tactical improvement.

In addition to obvious factors like location, price and length of the camp, here are a few tips to keep in mind when browsing the seemingly endless list of camps being offered each year:

  1. Talk to your child about what they hope to gain from their camp experience, and to your child's coach about the areas where your child could most improve before next season.

    Not all camps are created equal. Some focus on technical proficiency, while others are geared around tactical improvement. Some are position-specific (i.e., goalkeepers, strikers, etc.) while others offer opportunities for entire teams to train and develop together. Some are geared towards recreational players, with a fun, festival-like atmosphere and only minimal advanced technical or tactical training. Before choosing a camp, talk to your child about their reasons for wanting to attend a soccer camp (i.e., skill improvement vs. merely having fun playing soccer) and choose a camp that matches those goals. If applicable, also consult your child's coach about what he/she would like to see your child improve upon over the summer to become a better player, and seek camps that will specifically reinforce that aspect of training. Generally, it is recommended that players under the age of 12 attend day camps, while players aged 12-19 may attend more advanced overnight camps if they are comfortable being away from home for up to a week.

  2. Read the brochure or website carefully

    There are many things to consider when choosing a camp, beyond just the specific skills being taught. For example, who are the camp's coaches and what are their credentials? What is the camp's objective? And, most importantly – but most often overlooked – what kind of athletic training and medical support is available in case of injury? A good camp should include:

    • Trained medical personnel on-site
    • A medical release, insurance policy number, and emergency contact number on file in case of injury or illness
    • Regular water breaks, especially in hot conditions
    • A written concussion policy that conforms with Washington Youth Soccer/US Youth Soccer guidelines
    • Adult supervision at all hours, including both on the field and in the dorms/away from the field
  3. Get recommendations

    Ultimately, nothing can give you as complete a picture of a camp experience as the recommendation of a player or parent who has attended the camp before. If possible, consult with other parents, coaches or volunteers at your club or Association to find out details about the camps you are considering, or other camps that have provided past positive experiences for other athletes at your club. You may find that a camp that sounded great in the brochure offered a different experience to athletes that attended it, while another that you may not have considered receives a strong recommendation from other parents and players.

Remember, no camp – no matter what it promises – can turn a player into a star overnight. Instead, a good camp will merely provide building blocks and specific training upon which your child can build through hard work and practice in the following year. Rather than merely choosing the camp with the most star-studded coaching staff or biggest-name sponsors, focus on ones that will most help your child reach their specific goals, while having fun in a safe and secure environment.

Follow these basic guidelines and you'll increase the chances of coming out a winner this summer – no matter what camp you choose!

Washington Youth Soccer

Washington Youth Soccer • 500 S. 336th St. Suite 100 • Federal Way, WA 98003
1-877-424-4318 (Toll Free) • (253) 4-SOCCER (476-2237)

PlayOn! is published by Varsity Communications, Inc.
12510 33rd Ave NE, Suite 300 Seattle WA 98125 206-367-2420
For advertising information, please email Brent Vander Mey at Varsity Communications, Inc.

Top | Washington Youth Soccer Homepage