The rising popularity of soccer here in the United States has contributed to the increase of all types of soccer camps. The camps come in all shapes and sizes and can be specialized to suit a position, age group, gender, soccer club or in the form of a college combine. This year GSI Sports Manager and Camp Director Huw Williams celebrated the 30th year of a fabulous Kansas City soccer tradition, the Huw Williams Soccer Camps.
For three decades, the sell-out Huw Williams Soccer Camps have created the perfect atmosphere, which develops a true love for the game. The camps teach kids that soccer is a game with social elements and is a great place to play against and meet new friends.
During the weeklong camps, players divide into World Cup teams based on age, gender and ability level. The teams competed for the World Cup Championships and earned points based on their performance in the sessions, sportsmanship and by showing team spirit. The team coaches were able to contribute additional points to their respective teams by their performance in the “Coaches Challenges.”
“One of the neatest aspects of hosting this camp for such a long time is seeing the kids develop as soccer players and as individuals,” commented Williams.
These one-of-a-kind Huw Williams Camps have seen hundreds of players go on to pursue soccer at the college level, professional level and as a career.
“We are now coaching second generation kids and it’s awesome to see their parents who attended camp in the past drop off their kids,” Williams stated. “It’s also funny to hear them talk about their experiences, especially when they realize that our format really hasn’t changed much in 30 years.”
This year GSI Sports had the assistance of their community partners HCA Midwest Health, on site to provide an all-star team of trainers, and DICK’s Sporting Goods, who provided camp gear and equipment. Sport Shake, Community Bank of the Midwest and Freestyle Graphics were also on board to help celebrate the legacy of camp excellence.
At the conclusion of camp, the attendees participated in an awards ceremony and were treated to a celebrity guest speaker. Nicole Barnhart, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and current member of FC Kansas City, spoke to the players about believing in themselves and following their dreams.
The Huw Williams Soccer Camps put one more successful camp in the record books and continued to have fun making memories.
“The best part by far of the camp experience is when kids come up to us at the various soccer facilities around town just to say hi,” Williams said. “This truly brings a smile to our faces and, to use one of our camp catchphrases, ‘a chuckle in our boots’”.