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Camper Spotlight: Holly Hartlen

Spotlight Camper: Holly Hartlen


Holly Hartlen is one of the first girls from Montreal, Canada to attend the Berkshire Soccer Academy. She’s had such a great experience at camp that she will be returning for the fourth summer this year. We’re lucky that she made time in her schedule for us – Holly is one busy young lady! She plays on three different soccer teams (one being the Canadian equivalent to an ODP team), coaches a group of young girls, runs her own Etsy store and still finds time to keep up with her homework. 


One on One with Holly

We recently sat down with Holly and her mom, Laurie to learn more about Holly’s life on and off the soccer field and her favorite BSA memories.

Holly Hartlen was one of the first girls from Montreal, Canada to attend the Berkshire Soccer Academy. This will be Holly’s 4th summer at camp! Holly is one busy young lady. She plays on three different soccer teams, coaches a group of young girls, runs her own Etsy store and still finds time to keep up with her homework. We recently sat down with Holly and her mom, Laurie, to learn more about Holly’s life on and off the soccer field.

Q: How did you hear about the Berkshire Soccer Academy? What made you choose this soccer camp?

A: (Laurie) We found BSA through an online search. We were looking specifically for a soccer sleep-away camp. The web site and videos were wonderful—the girls looked like they were having a great time. I liked that it was all girls—they could focus on soccer and just have fun without worrying about boys. Not only did Holly sign on, but we also recruited four other friends to come with her.

Q: How has Holly’s experience at BSA changed her as a soccer player and as a person?

A: (Laurie) When Holly returns home from BSA, it is remarkable to see her confidence level on the pitch. Last summer, a group of six girls from her team attended together. What a huge difference it made for her team! The mental skills sessions they do at camp are incredible. Also, they put the fun back into soccer, which is great. There’s something different at camp—by removing the focus on wins/losses, the girls can relax in a pressure-free environment, have fun and be goofy. The “mental skills” handbook goes a long way—Holly uses it regularly at home. We’ve also seen an increased confidence level in other aspects of Holly’s life—she is a very independent, capable young lady. After camp she has a spring in her step, which is a nice crown to the summer.

A: (Holly) I definitely agree with my mom about my elevated confidence level. The focus on mental skills has opened up another side of soccer for me. Now I know that, to be a good soccer player, you need to be strong both technically and mentally. Also, adjusting to new people with different personalities is something I realize I have to continue to work through in my life. I have learned to stick with the right people and to make the effort to stay on peoples’ good side. This has helped change my soccer and has opened up many doors for me.

Q: What is Holly’s soccer schedule like?

A: (Laurie) There are differences in the way soccer in organized in Canada versus the US. Our main league is played in May through September. Holly plays with her league team in the summer and also practices with them 3-4 times a week in the winter. At school, she participates in a specialized soccer program called “Soccer Plus,” which is like varsity soccer. Soccer Plus includes 5 hours a week of practice plus 1-2 games/week around the local area and an occasional tournament. Holly was also selected to participate in the Regional Select team, which includes the top 20 players in the region (similar to what the US calls ODP.) This group trains together 90 minutes each week and plays occasional friendlies. This will be Holly’s 5th year participating in Regional Select.

Q: Laurie, I understand you’re a graphic designer. Did you help Holly set up her Etsy shop? Tell us about that.

A: (Laurie) Holly came home from Berky that first summer and knew immediately that she wanted to return. My husband and I wanted her to start earning some money to help pay for it. Holly always loved Pinterest and enjoyed finding motivational quotes online and hanging them up in her room. I have my own Etsy shop and I showed Holly how to open up her own shop. Holly found quotes that appealed to her and started preparing them as framed posters for friends’ birthdays and then it grew from there. Holly selects the quotes, then we discuss possible color schemes and designs which I create. Holly’s store offers 16 different quotes and designs. Customers choose their preferred designs, complete a payment form and receive an email from Etsy with a link to download the poster and print it.


Just one of Holly’s many graphic deisgns available on Etsy and Berkshire Soccer Academy.

Q: What is your most memorable experience at BSA?

A: (Holly) I’ve loved every moment of my time at camp. I especially love the end of session tournament. We all dress up in our team colors and wear bandanas. We make posters and cheer each other on. And we get to show off all the skills we’ve learned over the past week. Most of all, we get to have fun, be goofy and just let loose.

Q: What do you think of the coaching at BSA?

A: (Holly) All the coaches are great. I like that when you make a mistake the coaches take you aside and speak with you. They clearly explain what you need to do in a positive, encouraging way. Then they put you back in the drill so you get a chance to show that you learned what they were telling you.

Q: What are your soccer hopes and aspirations?

A: (Holly) My ultimate goal is to make the Canadian national team. I think about this all the time. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but right now I am keeping all doors open. If one door closes, I’ll always have another one. I’m still young and I plan to continue to play and keep getting better all the time.

Q: Do you want to do more with soccer than just play?

A: (Holly) I love coaching. I coach my six-year-old sister as well as a group of younger players. I will also be coaching at a soccer camp this summer. As I get older, I would like to take a team of little 6-7 years olds and bring them up to Triple-A level, which is age 15.

Q: What is something that the Berky world doesn’t know about you?

A: (Holly) I am nuts about horses. I have been riding horses since I was six. I have been too busy to ride for the past two years but now I’m back into it. It is tough fitting in the horses with my schedule but now I can ride Saturdays before my games.


We’re so proud of Berky athletes like Holly who are exceeding on and off the field. Visit Holly’s Etsy store and/or order one of her motivational soccer posters at the Berkshire Soccer Academy or online here.