Aspire Atlantic recently took 12 high school soccer players to the Future 500 Soccer Camp in Philadelphia, USA. What we discovered, is that soccer in the USA is growing at a rapid rate and that college soccer is now a massive attraction for players from all over the world.
The tour was a unique experience for the boys. They got a first-hand taste of what life would be like as a college athlete. They were not put up in hotels; rather they stayed at the Eastern University dorms. The camp was four days of non-stop soccer and educational seminars, which is similar to university preseason and the camp councillors were all Student-Athletes who gave their insight into the life of a college athlete.
The most impressive part of the camp was the coaches interaction with players. At standard recruiting events, the boys will play, and coaches will watch. This was not the case. The coaches were tasked with training and preparing the players for their games, and they would even make substitutions. This unique experience is unlike any other I’ve seen, and the exposure is invaluable.
Players normally want coaches to approach them about recruiting opportunities. The truth is coaches are busy; they have thousands of potential players and for a coach to approach you, you will have to be exceptional. The best way for a player to be scouted is to approach the coach, introduce yourself and make a good impression; however, nerves get in the way and players are too shy. At the Future 500 ID Camp, coaches had hands on interaction with the players, allowing the boys to build a relationship with them, before starting the recruitment conversation.
Our boys have had fantastic responses from colleges. But the biggest lesson the players learnt was how to be more of an international player. They now understand how they need to play to study at the collegiate level. In the next 24 months, Aspire Atlantic and Alan Marcus will be working to develop a programme to coach soccer players in a manner that will enable them to compete globally. The game of soccer is changing, and we do not want to be left behind.