How to Find the Best Overnight Soccer Camp for Girls:
Player Development vs. Exposure Programs
By Eric Wittenberg
Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls
If you’re one of the 7 million parents with a daughter playing soccer, you might be searching for an overnight girls soccer camp to send them to this summer. And once you start looking, you’ll be surprised by all the choices out there. What will be the best fit?
Beside word of mouth recommendation, there’s simply no organization that can provide impartial guidance to aid your selection.
At the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls, we help a lot of parents make this decision every week. One question we hear frequently is, “how am I supposed to find the right soccer camp for my daughter?” We understand this isn’t easy, but there are certainly a few ways to cut down your choices.
The first step is to identify the desired outcome for attending a soccer camp. Every camp can be categorized as either an Exposure camp or one aimed at Player Development. Once you’ve made a choice between these two fundamental types, you’ll have narrowed down your search considerably. However, some camps don’t come right out and identify their program as one or the other, so we’ve got some tips on how to spot them.
A Player Development soccer camp is defined as focusing on skill development and training. If you’re daughter is looking to improve her technical skills in a cooperative environment, then you should be looking for one of these camps. For example, in addition to the time we spend on the field, the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls teaches the social, mental and emotional aspects of training like an athlete, that’s meant to develop the whole player.
To identify this type of camp, you’ll see some of following details throughout the programs’ website and promotional materials:
- – Coaching staff with credentials from NSCAA, UEFA or USSF related to coaching youth, high school or collegiate soccer
- – Skill-based groups and coaching ratios that support individual relationships and development
- – References to players’ competence and confidence after attending camp
- – Affiliation with a training academy that conducts coaches education and training
- – Program differentiation for varying ages & skill groups
Conversely, Exposure camps are marked by a focus on displaying the players’ abilities and the audience the camp attracts. The chance to gain exposure and be seen by coaches or sponsors is the highly-desired outcome.
For example, attending the Stanford Women’s Soccer Camps and standing out among the other players is one of the most direct paths to being recruited by the Stanford program. If your daughter is seeking to get noticed or advance her soccer career, this is the way to go.
Exposure camps will often promote some of the following in their informational material.
- – List of college coaches that attend to scout prospective players
- – Invite only camps, Olympic Development ID camps by state, region or nation-wide
- – “Showcase” or “ID” in the name of their program
- – Preview what college soccer training will be like
- – Lists of colleges and universities that recent campers have attended
- – Offer the opportunity to be selected to train with a professional club
While it may look like there’s a large pool of overnight girls soccer camps out there to choose from, once you identify which type of camp best fits your daughter’s needs, the field is narrowed and the path becomes a little easier to navigate.