Read our Ultimate Soccer Camp Guide for expert tips on choosing the best soccer camp to fit your child’s age, skill level and overall soccer goals.
Soccer camps are one of the most popular summer camps on ActivityHero. Played by over 2 million children nationwide*, youth soccer appeals to children of all ages and skill levels. With both recreational and travel soccer leagues in the Bay Area, there are many opportunities for both beginner and elite players to play year round. It is also a sport that can be started at an early age, with many kids soccer camps accepting those as young as 3 years old.
Finding the right soccer camp depends on your child’s age and motivation. Does your child dream of being the next Lionel Messi or Alex Morgan? Or, do you simply want a fun summer camp to keep your child active this summer?
Soccer Development by Age
From preschool to high school, soccer camps structure their programs to meet children at various levels of development.
- Ages 3-5: The focus for the very youngest players is primarily on strengthening gross motor skills, socialization and having fun! Soccer drills for preschoolers are often just multipurpose games to keep players active, listening and making friends. Soccer camps for ages 3-5 often offer mini sessions that are semi-structured adventures designed to engage short attention spans.
- Ages 6-9: For elementary school-aged children, soccer camps often divide players up by age and ability to maximize instruction. While some very advanced players can start to play at a competitive level, most soccer camps for ages 6-9 years old “focus on team building, social skills, and technical skill development. The emphasis of the soccer camp is to help our young players foster a love of the game,” according to the AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization).
- Ages 10-13: For motivated players, this is the age where soccer development can be taken to the next level at camps such as the USF Junior Premier Soccer Camp. Developing technique, speed of play and simulated game situations are all a priority.
- Ages 14+: High school soccer players can have a wide range of skill and motivation – ranging from recreational to student athletes eyeing a college soccer scholarship.
Types of Soccer Camps
There are many different soccer camps available this summer to fit your schedule and child’s goals. AYSO offers week long programs including half-day soccer camps (3hrs), full-day soccer camps (6 hrs, ages 8+) and mini sessions (1.5 hrs). The programs are open to all players and the curriculum is developmentally appropriate for any skill level. Other popular half-day and full-day soccer camps include USF Youth Academy Soccer Camp (K-5th), Challenger Soccer Camps (multiple camps ages 3-16), Coach Ken Soccer Academy (ages 4-12) and Stanford Soccer Camps (ages 4-10).
Specialized night training programs for intermediate to advanced soccer players aged 15-21 are available through San Francisco Soccer Camp. The night training can be very convenient if your high school player has a summer job lined up. Additionally, some travel leagues may encourage team camps, residential overnight camps or college ID soccer camps.
Specialty Soccer Camps
There are also specialty programs such as goalkeeper camps or striker soccer clinics. These camps are focused on developing specific skills related to your child’s preferred playing position.
What to Bring to Soccer Camp
There are a few items that you will definitely want to pack with your child for soccer camp.
- Soccer gear: Cleats, Shin Guards and a Ball (optional). Sneakers can work too. *Tip: If you send a soccer ball, be sure to label it with your child’s name.
- Water bottle: Your child will be working up a sweat!
- Packed Lunch and/or Snacks: Keep in mind that most camps will not have a refrigerator.
- Sunscreen: Campers could be outside in the sun for several hours.
Benefits Beyond the Field
Soccer can develop into a fun, lifetime participation sport where children can learn the value of teamwork, leadership, communication and respect.
“Active kids grow in self-confidence. They have the opportunity to develop an open mindset. They learn conflict resolution skills. They learn how to both cooperate and compete with others. They learn punctuality and responsibility. They learn how to contribute to a group. They learn communication skills and how to lead. They learn how to set and achieve goals toward self-improvement. The possible life skills, as well as sport skills, that an active soccer player could learn and benefit from is a long list,” said Sam Snow, US Youth Soccer Director of Coaching.
Regardless of your child’s age or skill level, there is a soccer camp that is the right fit for your family. You can find all these Bay Area soccer camps on ActivityHero or download our iPhone app. Early bird summer camp discounts could save parents up to $200 a week.