Let’s be honest… youth soccer in the United States has become a business opportunity for footballing entrepreneurs in many different ways. Leagues, tournaments, academies, camps and clinics continually turn a profit for directors around the country looking to exploit the fast growing demand of the sport at higher levels. Even avenues such as apparel and videography have begun to capitalize on a market where parents are more willing to spend because their kids simply love the game or they want to play at the next level collegiately. The latter is where the relatively new concept of the ID Camp comes into play.
ID Camps are designed to get players directly in front of college coaches, and also working together in training and educational sessions. They are recruiting tools, just like college showcase tournaments that provide a service to both coaches and student-athletes looking to make the leap to the next level.
There are University specific camps: For Example Princeton University offers multiple opportunities throughout the year. Your coach should provide these opportunities as they are typically on the mailing lists, but visiting University webpages can also be helpful. You could also use this websites ID Camp list that has yet to be updated for 2017.
There are private ID camps: Two of the more prominent companies in our area Future 500 and Exact Sports which bring in a pool of coaches to view and work with players over a day or week long period. Future 500 for example hosts a series of week long summer camps that offer great opportunities to train at high levels and in front of 75 + college coaches.
As I said before, it is a business, and prices for these camps can range from $100 for a single day to $1000 for a week long residential experience. You just have to ask yourself and your family what you are willing to invest to get your child into a collegiate soccer program. There are definitely a host of other ways to do this, and proactive players reaching out to coaches directly is the #1 way to get recruited. However, these camps do provide a positive service to many players who want to envision the next level of soccer. It helps set goals by participating in camps with premier players in your area and beyond. My players that have attended camps similar to these have raved about these benefits as it really pushed them to achieve a greater level of play.
Just remember the goal in attending ID Camps should be to get recruited, not to get a scholarship. I routinely remind my parents and athletes that college soccer scholarships are hard to come by. Would I love for my players to receive one, and for it to be a goal of theirs? Yes, it absolutely should be! However, youth coaches goals are to prepare players for the next level (college soccer often), not promise them scholarships. Players should all strive to have a day signing a letter of intent like the one pictured here ———->
Ideally youth soccer athletes should use academy or premier level soccer to gain leverage when applying to schools not just apply for scholarships. For example, an athlete that plays for a top club should always reference that in college applications because it could be the difference maker in receiving acceptance letters vs. other applicants. A college coach can be motivated to push your application through at a school that may be deemed a “reach” for an applicant because of your ability to play soccer (or any sport). This is what I tell my parents and I believe is a message that should be more universally delivered.
ID Camps are just another tool for youth soccer players to receive exposure in what seems like an ever expanding business environment lush with opportunities. I am not sure it is any more beneficial than playing in the top flight of any EDP College Showcase. However, it does give you opportunities to work with coaches in training sessions and see what the next level of soccer and training will be like. ID Camps are something every college-bound player should be interested in and want to experience. I personally recommend parents and players take advantage of these opportunities going forward as they are only more likely to become an essential tool of college recruitment in the next few years.