High school programs host soccer camp

Participants of the North Shelby Soccer Camp listen as an instructor informs them of the college recruiting process. (Contributed)

Participants of the North Shelby Soccer Camp listen as an instructor informs them of the college recruiting process. (Contributed)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

Normally the Thompson, Chelsea and Pelham soccer programs would only take to the pitch to square off in competition, but the three squads combined to host the North Shelby Soccer Camp at Heardmont Park June 16-21.

Pelham soccer coach Patrick McDonald said the camp came out of a need for instruction for older players.

“(There are) a plethora of camps for younger kids,” he said “But not much for middle school-high school. The ones there are (are) expensive.“

In addition to the three varsity programs, Riverchase Middle, Helena Middle and Thompson Middle brought their varsity programs, McDonald said.

The camp brought in college players ad coaches to instruct campers in on-the-field activities, as well as how to take their games to the next level.

“It’s two-fold,” he said. “The kids get college (instruction) and helps in recruiting process. We get better as a team, get opportunity to impress potential future coaches.”

Coaches from the University of West Alabama and Huntingdon College spoke to the campers on the game at the next level in both on-the-field and off-the-field activities, McDonald said.

“All three college coaches spend time telling what they’re looking for, how to be recruited,” he said. “It kind of opens the eyes of the kids.”

McDonald said he and Chelsea boys team’s head coach Lee Miller came up with the idea when they realized that team-based camps for older players were hard to find, especially ones that gave insight into the recruiting process.

“One thing that’s different about this camp, this is a team camp,” he said. “You see a lot more fundamentals (taught). Some of the kids have never been to a team camp. (we’re ) looking at how the team plays together, instead of individually. It helps us out a lot.”
While banding together with teams that are normally considered rivals might seem a bit of a stretch, McDonald said it made perfect sense.

“Chelsea-Thompson-Pelham, we’re all at the same level,” he said. “Look at the scores, (there’s) a very even level between (the squads).”