Dynamic Development Soccer Camp enriches skills of hundreds of area campers

Published 9:24 am Friday, June 21, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Thompson High School played as host to the D2 Soccer Camp on June 17-21, which took place for its 11th season of providing kids with a packed week of learning soccer, fun and competition.

The camp was a huge success across the board and was an enjoyable week for all who were involved, including the 188 kids who attended this year.

“Camp has been going great. We’ve had the best weather in 11 years, it’s been unbelievable,” said Thompson head girls soccer coach Dan DeMasters. “Just humbled, I still remember the days of 37 campers for the first camp ever and now we’re at the high one-hundreds and low two-hundreds. It’s been great so far. Kids have been amazing, weather has been amazing, coaches have been great, so I have nothing to complain about.”

DeMasters gathered some experienced helpers to assist in coaching the kids through the various drills and activities. His staff was made up of former players that he has coached, outstanding players from around the Birmingham area and even current coaches.

The staff has had a lot of success over the years, which is what makes this camp stand out amongst the best in the country. The camp’s coaches have gathered a combined 29 state championships, and includes 10 coaches who have played at the professional or semi-pro level, as well as five Gatorade Players of the Year.

The college breakdown includes 10 people that played Division I, two at Division II and one at Division III.

“The old staff, they kind of do what we’ve always done, which is cool, but the new staff, they bring a little bit of new flare and new flavor,” DeMasters said. “I’ve even had some older coaches like coach (David) DiPiazza, who’s been coaching for decades down here and he’s a legend, seeing him at camp for the first time and he’s got new drills, and it’s cool to see new drills being taught to kids.”

Each day of the camp, the kids have the opportunity to learn and improve their skills in passing, receiving, dribbling, shooting and defending, while also getting to participate in competitive games such as World Cup, Dutch 3v3 and a skills competition towards the end of the week.

The kids enjoy themselves every year, which is why they continue to return to the camp each year. The coaches have felt that impact, especially this year, when they find out what they do is truly improving the players.

“You really feel that when a parent says, ‘My son or daughter comes home and they’re juggling and they show me a move and they’ve added that to their toolbox,’” DeMasters said. “I think when you hear that from the parents and they send you the email or they tell you in the car line, that’s the part where you’re like, ‘Oh okay, so someone is seeing it.’”

DeMasters has a big appreciation for what he does, not only in the lives of the campers, but the lives of the coaches as well, knowing that his impact has been part of what helps make this camp a success.

“If I can be a little piece in everyone’s story, that’s cool,” DeMasters said. “Coming back and working the camps, that is such a cool part for me to see when a kid wants to come back and be a part of the camp.”