Secaucus is blessed with a number of pro athletic teams that play right in its backyard, and which all give back to the community in various ways.
The area’s Major League Soccer team, the New York Red Bulls, has for the past few years co-sponsored a summer soccer camp for local youth along with the Secaucus Soccer Club. This year the camp will be offered in two five-day sessions, June 22 through 26, and August 17 through 21.
The Red Bulls have run the camp for the past seven years. Prior to that, the Metro Stars offered a similar camp.
“I have a 16-year-old son, Michael, who did the camp when it was run by the Metro Stars,” said Secaucus resident Pat Balletto. She serves as volunteer camp coordinator. “And then when my daughter Alyssa started playing, I got her involved when she was 5,” she said. “She’s now 10. And it’s great for the kids because they have coaches that really know what they’re doing, and know how to teach and make it fun for the kids. Like, they’ll teach drills, but they’ll incorporate the drills into a game.”
“The camp is great for the kids because they have coaches that really know what they’re doing, and know how to teach and make it fun for the kids.” – Pat Balletto
Balletto also helped the team secure practice fields through the Secaucus Recreation Department.
“It’s nice that we’re able to have access to such a high level of training available to our children without having to send them away to some elite camp somewhere else,” Balletto added.
‘Players with potential’
The camp is part of the four-level Red Bulls Player Development System. Community training camps like the ones being offered in Secaucus are for children – both boys and girls – who have an interest in recreational soccer. Players who demonstrate a unique gift for the game may graduate to higher levels of the system, which is designed to identify and groom talent for the major league team.
“One of the goals of the camp is to provide an excellent level of training for the community.” said Dave Jervis, director of training programs for the New York Red Bulls. “Another goal, obviously, is to identify players [with potential]. But these camps also serve as an excellent vehicle to generate a broader interest in the game.”
Kids who register for the program will get five days of training. Training sessions will last 90 minutes for the youngest players and up to three hours for older students. Each camp day will have a theme, Jervis said, which will include such skills as individual possession of the ball, group possession, passing, and “attacking play,” which includes shooting the ball.
“Pretty much the goal of each day is to have a different theme within the curriculum so we’re able to expose the kids to a wide range of technical development throughout the program,” Jervis commented. “They’re still kids, naturally, so we try to make it as fun and interactive as possible.”
Camp costs $75 for the first session in June, which is open to younger kids. The second session, in August, costs $125 and is for older kids who practice for longer sessions.
Each session is open to up to 60 players.
“I know it costs money and a lot of families maybe aren’t spending a lot right now,” Balletto said. “But I’d say it’s the best money I’ve ever spent on my daughter learning how to do something she likes.”
To inquire about the camp, visit http://redbull.newyork.mlsnet.com.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.