BYU soccer camps boost sports programs

Soccer camp participants enjoy training from current BYU players and coaches. (Natalie Stoker)

More than 2,000 campers ages 5 to 18 come to BYU soccer camps each year to be trained in a gospel-centered environment.

BYU soccer is gaining momentum with a growing fan base and more national coverage. Both the men’s (12-5-3) and women’s (15-5-1) teams ended their seasons with winning records, which gives more reason for potential recruits to want to attend the camps. Women’s head coach Jennifer Rockwell talked about how important the camp is for the future of BYU soccer.

“Every summer we have recruits that verbally commit [to BYU],” Rockwell said. “I think that every single one of the current players has come to camp, both on the men’s and the women’s side.”

With so many campers coming every year, it’s no wonder people come from all over the world to attend. This year the camp has seen players from the Ukraine and Dubai. Rockwood credits the LDS Church as being a heavy pull for parents to send their kids to camp here.

“I’ve been doing these camps for 18 years,” Rockwood said. “And it’s just grown — we’re at full capacity. I think we’re one of the largest camps on campus … and I think parents feel comfortable sending their kids here for a week knowing that they’re going to have a great experience on campus.”

BYU soccer camps are successful partly due to the close involvement of current BYU soccer players. Junior starter Miranda Bailey is in her second year helping out at the camp and explained why the camps are so valuable.

“It’s such a neat experience because BYU has such a neat atmosphere,” Bailey said. “The program is an incredible program because we take the time as players and coaches to give everything we can to the kids and make their experience the very best.”

Bailey also said that many of the future BYU stars are signed every year, which gives a huge advantage to current players that take advantage of getting to know the future Cougars.

Another positive aspect of the camp comes with the sheer volume of campers. The camps are spread out over seven different weeks during the summer with approximately 470–480 kids coming to each one. The large number of kids coming through the camps helps feed the growing BYU soccer fan base. In 2009 BYU women’s soccer faced off against Utah in front of a roaring 2,800 fans, and in 2013 that number almost doubled to 5,400, setting a record at South Field.

Both teams look to ride the wave of recent success and enhance the sport with better players and more fans.

BYU women’s soccer begins on August 13 in the Blue vs. White match at South Field, while the men take a break after finishing a historic season in the Professional Development League, making it to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

For more information on BYU soccer camps, visit here.


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