SIUE soccer camps are more than just opportunities for local players to develop their skills, it’s also a chance for SIUE’s team to be involved in the local community.
SIUE’s annual soccer camps are popular not just in the surrounding communities, but also to international students. Many local teams or parents will register their children to come out and work with the soccer team and staff each year, some more for fun, others to enhance their skills.
The participants are usually varied by age groups, skill sets and time. The camps provide sessions for kids as young as five years old all the way up to junior college players. Each group is focused in a different way.
Short, day camps are better adjusted for younger kids, according to Head Coach Cale Wasserman. The camps also offer residential stays for the higher skilled and older participants.
These camps are typically run throughout the summer by the SIUE soccer coaching staff, but they also reach out to their student athletes. They typically don’t outsource beyond their personal connections and local coaches, said Colin Hilpert of Fenton, Missouri, who is a senior economics and finance major.
Hilpert worked two years of camps and considers them less about team building and more about connecting with the community.
“It’s personal interaction with the community,” Hilpert said. “It’s something you never forget, and [the kids] don’t either. They’ll come to your games and say, ‘Hey, coach!’”
Kashaun Smith, a mass communications student of Kingston, Jamaica, is of the same opinion as Hilpert.
“It kind of builds our brand,” Smith said. “[The kids] maybe don’t know when our games are.”
Wasserman also has an opinion on what the camps do for the SIUE team.
“I think there’s a few key elements,” Wasserman said. “One, it brings kids on campus and markets our program. It helps spread the love of the game to others. It’s getting back to the community. It also gives dollars back to the program.”
The summer camps not only connect the community with the team, but also provides the team with additional funds for their season, according to Wasserman.
SIUE also offers several other camps for different sports very similar to soccer. Some like wrestling, women’s basketball and baseball are over for the year, but they run annually and will be available again in Summer 2020. Below are some upcoming camp events for Summer 2019.
Men’s soccer returns on July 8 and will finish on July 26. A variety of volleyball camps begin July 9 and continue through the 19. Women’s soccer will be available on July 14. Softball elite camps will be held on August 18.
Additional coaches were not available to comment, but further information and details on the upcoming camps can be found at https://www.siuecougars.com/camps/index.