Campers in the Cub camps stop to pose for a picture during this year's camps.
PROVO -- Every summer the fields at Brigham Young University are swarming with hundreds of athletes eager to perfect their skills, and possibly be discovered by coaches at one of the university's many summer soccer camps.
For the last eight years BYU and the Cougar soccer teams have sponsored one of the largest soccer camps for youth in the state. More than 1,500 campers register for the Cougar camps each year that take place over six weeks of the summer months.
The head coaches of both the men and women's Cougar soccer teams, Chris Watkins and Jennifer Rockwood, direct each camp. The staff includes current and former standout athletes from both nationally recognized teams.
With Rockwood and Watkins on hand to give one-on-one instruction to the campers, participants are guaranteed to receive coaching that will improve their game.
Rockwood recently guided the Cougars to their fourth consecutive Mountain West Conference Title, and their seventh straight year as a Nationally ranked Top 25 program. She has distinguished herself as one of the top Division I coaches in the country, currently ranking sixth among active NCAA coaches for coaches with the highest winning percentage.
Watkins has led the BYU men's club team to five Collegiate Club National Championships. As a player he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas and went on to play Division I soccer at Drake University where he held the single season scoring record.
With the BYU coaching staff personally on hand overseeing the camp, many athletes who have played for the Cougars were discovered at one of these camps. For those athletes hoping to play at the collegiate level, attending camp is an excellent way to be seen by coaches at an early age.
"Our camps are a tremendous recruiting opportunity for us since we have the chance to work closely with athletes for a weeks time," said Rockwood. "We get to know the athletes more as an individual and also see how they train on a daily basis"
From the current 2003 women's roster, 21 athletes have previously attended a Cougar Soccer Camp. More than 65% of all the players that have played for the BYU women's team throughout the past eight years have also attended BYU Soccer Camp.
At the camp athletes focus on the fundamentals of the game with drills designed to enhance a player's individual technical abilities, with emphasis on footwork, dribbling, passing/receiving, and shooting.
Campers have many opportunities to practice the skills they learn as they face off in games and scrimmages during the camp against other athletes from around the state and nation.
The BYU Soccer Academy is available for boys and girls of ages 12-18. The Academy is a full week of training and scrimmaging where athletes can stay in the dorms or some place locally. The Academy is offered three different weeks in July and holds 360 campers each week.
The Soccer Academy has been very popular over the past several years and has sold out for this summer. " We are excited that so many players are interested in attending our soccer academy, we wish we could accommodate more," said Rockwood. "We have tried to open some spots over the past couple weeks, but our field space is limited." This year the girls Soccer Academy sold out as early as April.
There are also Cub camps available for athlete's ages 7-12 of all ability levels, including a Mini-Cub camp designed for those younger players who are just learning to play.
For more information, click on the link for sport camps; also click on Fan Hub for pictures from this year's soccer camps.