The value of a college soccer camp is undeniable (see EXACT’s article Discovering the Value of Camps), but picking a college soccer camp can often seem confusing and complicated. There are many factors that can affect your camp experience, so where do you start? Fortunately, this comprehensive guide will take the stress out of picking the right college soccer camp for you!
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There are many things to consider when looking for a college soccer camp. Things like duration, cost, coaches, and size can all vary depending on the college or the company hosting the camp. Depending on what you’re looking to get out of a college soccer camp, some camps are better than others. Typically, there are three main reasons players choose to attend a college soccer camp: 1. To improve their game, 2. To be evaluated, and 3. To be “discovered” by a college coach.
Players who want to improve their game should look for camps that offer intensive technical training and lots of one-on-one time with coaches. Look for soccer camps that specialize in specific positions as well. For instance, a goalkeeper will likely improve much more over a 3-day goalkeeper camp than a camp designed for field players. If your main interest is developing as a player, remember that time spent with quality coaches and competing against high-level players is invaluable.
If being evaluated by a college coach is the most important thing to you, make sure you attend a soccer camp early in your high school years. This gives you the chance to improve aspects of your game that may be weaker, and will help you evaluate potential college choices depending on your level. A camp that offers a low ratio of players to coaches, as well as a one-on-one meeting with a coach will be beneficial.
For players who want to be recruited and scouted at a college camp, it is important that they attend the camps of universities that they want to play at or with coaches they want to play for. In this situation, choosing a camp with a high number of players is not to your advantage, but is sometimes unavoidable. To help yourself stand out, make sure you contact the coach before the camp as well as introduce yourself at the camp. Be sure that the coach will be the one training you (often times colleges put on camps that are primarily run by the players). If you get a chance to talk with the coach in private, be sure to express your interest in the school and explain what makes you stand out from other players. After the camp, follow up with an email – this will keep your name fresh in the coach’s mind.
While most camps offer a mixture of these things, EXACT National Player Development Camps offer all of the above - a chance to work with top quality coaches from some of the most reputable and successful colleges in the U.S., mental training and evaluation, one-on-one meetings with coaches, 5:1 player to coach ratio, position-specific training, and a question and answer session with coaches. And while these are not recruiting camps, our unique approach ensures that players improve both mentally and technically while being able to meet, ask questions, and develop relationships with college coaches.
Remember, before picking a college soccer camp, make sure it is offering what you want. A college soccer camp is a great investment, but it can be a waste of time and money if it doesn’t meet your needs. Looking over a camp website or brochure will help you understand what is being offered and how it compares to other camps. Hopefully this guide will help you in your search to find the best college soccer camp for you!
For more information on training and camp opportunities with the NCAA/NAIA, as well as access to EXACT development tools, consider enrolling in the collegiate soccer contact database.