Learn more about the Academy from these Frequently Asked Questions.

Drone Soccer Fields

Frequently Asked Questions About Berkshire Soccer Academy


Where is the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls?
The Academy is located at the Berkshire Sports Academy’s state-of-the-art athletic facility in the quaint New England town of East Otis, Massachusetts, just ten miles north of the Connecticut border and approximately 2 hours by car from Boston and 2.5 hours from New York City. It sits on a pristine wooded hillside along the shores of its own private lake. The Academy is adjacent to 4,800 acres of Tolland State Forest with miles of hiking and running trails; and is one mile from Otis Reservoir, a 1,200-acre recreational lake with public access.

How does my child get to the Academy?

We do not provide transportation to or from our camp sessions. Most families drive or carpool. We do provide ground transportation for campers flying into Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks, CT.



What are the athletic and program facilities like?
The newly-renovated facilities provide athletes with an elite training experience as well as exposure to a wide variety of fun activities.

ATHLETIC FACILITIES:

1 Grass Field (300′ x 200′) – full size soccer field which can be divided into 3 smaller fields
1 Grass Field (250′ x 150′) – with soccer goals, lit for night play
1 Artificial Turf Soccer Field (200′ x 110′) – with small-sided goals, lit for night play
Training Wall – with turf surface, 48’ wide x 16’ high
Outdoor Court – for basketball or soccer-tennis
Strength & Conditioning Room – with equipment designed specifically for girls
Pavilion – centrally located to the fields. Houses our Athletic Training Room
Clubhouse – a covered open-air building where athletes store their soccer gear

CAMP FACILITIES:

Larkum Lake – a private, spring-fed 20-acre lake with docks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards,a fishing dock and a blob
Rec Deck – our 4,000 square foot deck at the center of camp, outfitted with table-tennis, Gaga court and other fun games
Hiking Trails – a one-mile trail wraps around the lake and connects to a nearby waterfall
Playhouse – a beautiful vintage building complete with stage and lights for performances and camp events
Arts & Crafts Studio – a large building dedicated to creative projects like tie dye, drawing and bracelet making
Campfire Area – a great meeting place. We end each session here with our closing campfireOur Facilities - Program Facilities

 


What are the 2017 Academy sessions and rates?

Visit our Dates, Rates, & Enrollment page to learn all about our upcoming Academy sessions.

Athletes can enroll in any number of sessions to receive continued individualized training and experience different elective options and special events. Girls who attend multiple sessions benefit from our Multiple Session Discounts.

Tuition includes the BSA Training Kit. Additional BSA apparel and training gear can be purchased from our online BSA Store or from the camp store located at the Academy.

*Payment plans and discounts are available.

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How old are BSA athletes?  

Eligibility depends on the specific session. Most sessions are open to girls currently in grades 3rd – 8th. Our new, Varsity session is only open to girls entering 9th – 12th grades. Be sure to check the grade requirements on the Dates & Rates page, as well as the Camper Application.

How many girls attend each session?
Enrollment is limited to approximately 130 girls per session.

What level soccer players attend the Academy?
Registration to all sessions except Session IV is open to girls of all abilities who are passionate about soccer.

Session IV, our 2017 Invitational Session, is open to players who play in certain high-level leagues or teams or who otherwise qualify as high-level players. For more information, see our Invitational page.

Can an athlete attend more than one session?
Yes! Berkshire athletes can enroll in any number of sessions throughout a summer. Girls who attend more than one session will continue to receive individualized training and experience different elective options and special events. Bridge Sessions, which run from Thursday afternoons, when one session ends, until Sunday morning when the next session begins, enable athletes to attend multiple sessions without returning home. You can register for Bridge Programs on our Camper Application.

How do I register for the Academy?
To register, please submit the online Camper Application. After submitting this form, families receive a follow-up phone call confirming the details of enrollment and financial status. This phone call provides you the opportunity to ask questions!

Our Programs - Soccer

What does the Academy do if injuries and cancellations occur?
We have a Camper Assurance Program that can provide peace of mind and protection of your investment in the Academy experience.



What does the Academy do to make girls feel welcome?

Before camp, we provide families with an “Away from Home Guide” that guides them in preparing for camp, and easing any transition and separation issues.

Upon arriving at camp, girls receive a tour, play fun ice-breaker games, meet all the staff and their cabin-mates, and get situated in their cabins. The first day’s action-packed schedule, which includes a fun soccer scrimmage, a Staff Welcome Show, and a cabin activity, adds to the warm welcome.

We understand that homesickness is natural and often occurs with both new and veteran campers. We prepare and train our staff to handle homesickness and have had great success helping many athletes navigate and overcome this feeling and enjoy a fantastic Academy experience.

Cabin Counselors - Overview



Does the Academy use a unique soccer-specific training program? 

Yes! Unlike any other soccer camp, the Academy takes an innovative approach to coaching young athletes by providing consistent and individualized instruction that focuses on training the whole player. Athletes are grouped by skill-level into small teams of 6-15 girls. These teams train daily with coaches who ensure that each player is improving and having fun. The teams also play numerous league games to focus on tactics and team play. Perhaps, most importantly, girls relax, try new things and build their confidence off the field. The relaxed atmosphere and added confidence makes it far easier for them to stretch and take risks on the field, and their improvement generally exceeds all expectations.

What does “training the whole player” mean?
We prepare our athletes to be well-rounded and fully capable soccer players and girls. This includes mental skills training that is intentionally woven through the Academy experience during both on the field technical and tactical sessions and off-the-field workshops. Focusing on topics like confidence, control, teamwork, and communication, the entire Academy staff is trained to maximize opportunities that challenge athletes physically, mentally, and socially.

Do goalkeepers receive specific training at the Academy?
Yes! The Academy offers a special Goalkeeping Track. Athletes interested in goalkeeping sessions should so indicate on their Camper Application. Goalkeepers are placed on a separate team led by a goalkeeping coach who provides 45 minutes to 1 hour of daily specialized goalkeeping instruction. During the rest of the sessions, goalkeepers are integrated with the field players in order to develop necessary foot skills and field awareness. As outlined below, goalkeepers can supplement their training with private goalkeeper instruction.

Are there extra opportunities for Individual Training?

We offer 1-hour long Private Training sessions, for an additional fee of $100 per session. All Private Trainings are led by a Master or Head Coach, and take place during elective periods so as not to conflict with regularly-scheduled soccer sessions, meals, rest times or special events. Athletes, with input from their parents, can specify the focus of their training sessions. A maximum of two private trainings are available per session per camper. Enrolled campers may add a Private Training Session when registration opens in the spring. Space is limited!

Soccer Program Triptych - 1



What is the Academy’s daily schedule?

While every day at the Berkshire Soccer Academy is unique and full of surprises, the days do follow a common structure. On a typical day, girls participate in two soccer-specific periods, two elective periods, and one evening activity. We bring variety to each session with special programming that includes surprise events and guest appearances.

What happens at the Academy if it rains?
Soccer sessions and most other activities carry on in the rain. However, we carefully monitor the weather, and, in the event of lightening, heavy rain, or strong winds, we implement a “Rainy-Day Schedule”.  The training, games, and fun continue indoors until the weather improves. In the event of an extended stretch of bad weather, we transport our athletes to a nearby, indoor turf facility where the training continues.

What happens at the Academy if there is a heat wave?
In the event of severe heat, we alter the schedule as appropriate, moving training sessions to early morning and evening and adding an extra swim session. A mister with eight spray nozzles is situated next to our fields and provides quick cooling during each training. All camper cabins are air-conditioned, and our dining hall is cooled by high capacity fans.

Elective Program - Overview



Who is responsible for my child’s well-being at the Academy? 

Directors Liza & Eric Wittenberg work full-time year-round as the Directors of the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls. With over 20 years of combined camp experience and backgrounds in education, competitive soccer, and sport psychology, Liza and Eric embody the mission and values of BSA, creating a safe, inclusive environment for each girl to develop as a player, make friends, and have fun.

Who makes up the Academy’s program staff?
Directors Eric and Liza oversee a team of highly qualified and reliable individuals who carefully manage every aspect of the Academy experience. Soccer Staff and Elective Staff work together to create a warm and cohesive community, both on and off the soccer field.

 

Staff - Staff SelectionWhat is the Soccer Staff like?
The Academy’s Soccer Director oversees all soccer-related training, programming and staff, leading our dedicated Soccer Staff, which consists of Master Coaches, Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches who come to the Academy from across the nation to coach in our unique environment. Master Coaches are licensed professionals who have dedicated their careers to youth soccer instruction. Assistant Coaches are former and current NCAA soccer players who are interested in a career in coaching, teaching, sport psychology or sport administration. Every coach has a deep interest in being a teacher and role model to our athletes. Head Coaches have previously served on our staff as Assistant Coaches, are pursuing a career in soccer coaching and have proven themselves to be outstanding soccer instructors.

What is the Elective Staff like?
In addition to the Soccer Staff, the Academy also has a team of Elective Staff who lead activities off the soccer field. From the waterfront to the hiking trails, each member of our Elective Staff possesses an expertise and passion in their activity. Following the American Camp Association  standards, we require that certain elective staff have required licensing as well as American Red Cross certifications.

What are the Cabin Counselors like?

Select Soccer Staff and Elective Staff also serve as our Cabin Counselors. They live in the cabins with the athletes and promote friendships and fun during cabin-times and meal-times. Our qualified Residential Life Team trains and manages the Cabin Counselors to ensure that every Berkshire athlete is enjoying her cabin and getting the most out of her experience.

Staff - Overview
How does the Academy ensure a high-quality staff?
Every staff member is carefully selected to reflect the Academy’s mission and values. We interview each candidate and only hire those with excellent references, impressive experience working with children, and a willingness to dedicate themselves to caring for and supervising our athletes.

Before camp opens, we offer 6 full days of comprehensive staff training that covers all aspects of youth development and group cohesion. The training, which is developed with the assistance of child development and camp industry experts, prepares our staff to maximize every moment and to instill our girls with work ethic, respect, sportsmanship and to teach them how to live and play the “Berkshire Way”.

Are Berkshire athletes supervised both on and off the field?
During the day, the girls are engaged in soccer and elective activities where coaches and specialists are always present providing instruction and guidance. During free times and in the evenings, Cabin Counselors are always supervising, supporting and caring for each camper.



Who will care for my daughter’s health?
The Academy’s top priority is the safety, health and well-being of every camper. Our Health Center houses a professional Health Care Staff that consists of a full-time Nurse and Assistant Nurse, and a full-time Athletic Trainer. We also have a physician on-call. Before each session, our nurse reviews every athlete’s health history and medication needs. Our nurses distribute medication at meal-times or bedtime. Our Athletic Trainer is on the field during every soccer session and provides pre and post-training treatments in the Athletic Training Room, located at the fields.

Health, Wellness, Nutrition - Health Team
What happens if my daughter is injured?
Our team of health-care professionals work together to respond quickly and professionally to any injuries or illnesses that occur at the Academy. Our nurses care for campers in our Health Center. A comfortable “quarantine room” in the Health Center provides a place for campers to rest if they are feeling under the weather. In the event of a serious illness or injury, we have an on-call physician available seven days a week.

When will parents be notified of health issues?
Parents will be contacted if our medical staff has any questions, if a serious injury or illness has occurred, if a camper is taken to a doctor, or if a camper needs to spend the night in the Health Center.



What kind of food does the Academy serve?
We pride ourselves on providing healthy food options that give our growing athletes the energy and nutrition they need. Each day, our Head Chef and crew prepare a well-balanced menu of camp favorites that include tasty protein-based entrees and a variety of side dishes served in our lakeside dining hall or at the weekly cookout. Fruit, salad, and pasta bars are always featured with fresh local produce, whole grain pastas, breads and cereals. We offer healthy snacks every evening, with occasional indulgences like ice cream, homemade desserts, and s’mores of course!

Health, Wellness, Nutrition - Nutrition



Where do the campers live?
Berkshire athletes live in newly-renovated cabins which house 8-12 girls and 2-3 cabin counselors. The cabins are clustered together in centrally located areas around camp. Every cabin has air-conditioning and its own bathroom with showers, sinks, and toilets. All cabins have windows, comfortable beds, and individual storage areas. Campers bring their own bedding and towels.

Is laundry service provided at the Academy?
We provide laundry service during Bridge sessions for campers who are staying for more than one session. We do not provide any other laundry service.

Can my daughter request to live with a friend?
We encourage girls to take advantage of this opportunity to meet new friends; however, athletes can request one cabin-mate on the Cabin Request Form, which becomes available to enrolled athletes in the spring. We do our best to accommodate every request. We do not permit entire groups of campers to form their own cabin groups.

Camper Experience - Camper Cabins



How do I get more information about the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls?
Directors, Liza and Eric Wittenberg, are available full-time, year round to answer questions and provide requested information and references. Please feel free to contact us any time!