Learn more about the Academy from these Frequently Asked Questions.
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 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?
Most families drive or carpool. We do not provide transportation to or from our camp sessions. 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.
- 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
- 1 Artificial Covered Turf Field (195′ x 110′) – New for 2023.
- Training Wall – with turf surface, 48’ wide x 16’ high
- Turf Court – for small sided games, 1-on-1 training sessions or soccer-tennis
- Strength & Conditioning Room – with equipment designed specifically for girls
- Pavilion – centrally located to the fields. Houses our Athletic Training Room & Soccer Coordinator’s office
- Clubhouse – a covered open-air building where athletes store their soccer gear
- Larkum Lake – a private, spring-fed 20-acre lake with docks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards,a fishing dock, a fleet of funyaks and a water park filled with inflatables including a Blob and Quarter Pipe by Wibit and an Aquaglide Rockit.
- Rec Deck – our 4,000 square foot deck at the center of camp, outfitted with table-tennis, Gaga court and other fun games. The adjacent Chill Zone includes seating areas and tables for reading, relaxing and playing games.
- Lakeside Lounge – located right next to Larkum Lake, the Lakeside lounge is an additional place for campers to play fun games & watch soccer games together.
- Hiking Trails –a one-mile trail wraps around the lake and connects to a nearby waterfall
- Playhouse – a vintage building 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 where we end each session with a closing campfire
What are the 2024 Academy sessions and rates?
Visit our Dates, Rates, & Enrollment page to learn all about our upcoming Academy sessions.
Athletes can enroll in one week or two week sessions and can also extend their sessions by adding a Bridge session.
Tuition includes the BSA Training Kit and laundry for two week campers. 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.
What are the ages of campers?
Eligibility depends on the specific session. Our first six sessions are open to girls who are rising 4th – 10th graders. Our Invitational Sessions (Session 7 & 8) are open to girls who are rising 7th – 12th graders that qualify. Check the grade requirements on the Dates & Rates page and the Camper Application.
How many girls attend each session?
Enrollment is limited to approximately 174 girls per session.
What level soccer players attend the Academy?
Registration to all sessions except Session 7 & 8 (the Invitational) are open to girls of all abilities who are passionate about soccer, excited to train for 4 hours/day and improve their level of play.
Session 7 & 8, our 2024 Invitational Sessions, are open to players who play in qualifying Regional leagues or teams or who otherwise qualify. For more information, see our Invitational page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Can an athlete attend for more than one session?
Yes! Players can enroll in multiple sessions. Girls who attend a two-week session will continue to receive individualized training and experience different elective options and special events. Bridge Sessions, enable athletes to extend one week and two-week sessions and to add a third session. You can register for Bridge Programs on our Camper Application.
What is the maximum number of sessions an athlete can attend?
An athlete can attend up to four sessions, made up of any combination of one and two-week sessions.
How do I register for the Academy?
To register, submit the online Camper Application. If you have any questions or would like to speak with our Director, Katy Kreiner please click here to set up a time to chat.
What does the Academy do if injuries and cancellations occur?
We offer a Camper Assurance Program (“CAP”) that protects your investment in the event of injury or cancellation. Enroll in CAP when you register.
What does the Academy do to make girls feel welcome?
Our “Away from Home Guide” and “Athlete Handbook” help athletes prepare for camp, and eases transition and separation issues. In early June, before the beginning of the camp session, we invite newly enrolled and prospective families to visit and tour camp, meet staff and ask questions.
Upon arriving at camp for their session, campers play fun ice-breaker games, meet cabin-mates, cabin counselors and residential life leaders, and get settled into their cabins. The first day’s action-packed schedule, which includes a fun scrimmage, an all-camp evening activity and the opening campfire, 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 Berky experience.
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 age and skill-level into training groups of 25 – 30 girls. These teams train daily with coaches who ensure that each player is improving and having fun. 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 Goalkeeping Track. Athletes interested in goalkeeping sessions should so indicate on their Camper Application. Goalkeepers are pulled 3-4 times/week by our 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 $150 per session. All Private Trainings are led by a Master or Head Coach or a qualified assistant coach and take place either in the morning before breakfast or 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 timing of their session and their training topics. Enrolled campers may add a Private Training Session when they register. Space is limited, and sessions are often full by mid-April.
Do you provide soccer specific feedback on individual athletes?
All players receive individualized feedback at then end of their session(s). The Head coach from each athlete’s training group completes an assessment of that athlete’s strengths, areas in which she most improved, and opportunities for improvement. The assessment is e-mailed to parents within a few days of the session’s completion.
Feedback from Campers
At the end of each session, we ask campers a short series of questions about their experience. This helps us gauge whether training, electives, special events, coaches, counselors, and meals are being well received. When there’s a shortfall, we respond and adjust.
In addition to ongoing correspondence with parents, we systematically request feedback during the summer. Soon after departure day, we send an electronic survey that parents complete online. We respond to comments requiring immediate action. At summer’s end, we thoroughly examine all survey responses and determine how we can improve for the following summer. Although we receive lots of praise, we especially enjoy learning of areas where we can improve.
Where Can I see more about Camper & Parent Surveys
We produce an annual blog post that shares the meaningful feedback that our camp families provide and how we plan to respond. We hold closely to management expert Ken Blanchard’s adage, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions“. Additional blog posts, news articles, and social media ratings from past campers and parents can be found on our News and Reviews page.
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 outside in light rain. On rainy days, athletes move to an indoor training schedule, and athletes participate in rainy day electives. With our new covered turf field training can continue as planned even on heavy rain days.
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. Misters with spray nozzles are situated next to our three soccer fields and provide quick cooling during training. All camper cabins are air-conditioned, and our dining hall and recreation hall are cooled by high-capacity fans.
Who is responsible for my child’s well-being at the Academy?
Katy Kreiner and Paul Titley 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 children’s camp, girls soccer, and competitive sports, Katy and Paul create 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?
The Directors oversee a team of highly qualified and reliable individuals who carefully manage every aspect of the Berky experience. Soccer Staff and Elective Staff work together to create a warm and cohesive community, both on and off the soccer field.
What is the Soccer Staff like?
Director, Katy Kreiner 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 and the world 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 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 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?
All Assistant Soccer Coaches and most Elective Staff serve as 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 enjoys her cabin and gets the most out of her experience.
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 staff training that cover 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 instill in our girls mutual respect, individual responsibility, sportsmanship, and kindness. Pre-camp training also addresses safety issues, emergency procedures, and program preparation.
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. We teach our staff to never leave campers alone and insist that a staff member accompany campers who are traveling between activities.
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 Care Staff consists of a full-time Nurse, two Assistant Nurses, and a full-time Athletic Trainer. We also have a physician practice on-call. Before each session, our nurses review 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.
What happens if my daughter is injured?
Our health-care team works together to respond quickly and professionally to injuries or illnesses. Our Nurses live in the health center and care for campers who sleep there. Our recently renovated Health Center provides comfortable private or semi-private rooms for campers to rest if they are feeling under the weather. In the event of a serious illness or injury, we transport campers to our physician’s office or to the emergency room at the Berkshire Medical Center.
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 the adjacent, outdoor picnic area. Fruit, salad, and pasta bars are always featured at lunch and dinner, and we offer toast, fruit, and cereal at breakfast. We offer snacks in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Evening snacks include occasional indulgences like ice cream, homemade desserts, and s’mores of course!
Where do the campers live?
Berkshire athletes live in 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 for athletes attending two-week sessions. 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 two cabin-mates 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 groups of campers to form their own cabin groups.
Staying Connected to Camp
To send messages to your camper while she’s at camp and view and share all the daily media updates from Berky, download the Campanion app to your mobile device and log in using your existing Berky login credentials. Please refer to the Campanion FAQ for any questions or technical support inquiries.