I’m jealous! I grew up playing soccer and never had a chance to do what my children did last summer. Since I often work with runDisney, my kids Ginger (10) and Parker (8) were lucky enough to be invited to attend camp for the sport they love most, soccer. For starters, I have to say that before this invitation came, I didn’t even know that Disney offered sport-specific summer camps. Did you know that? I imagine, you might be dumbfounded like I was. How could I NOT know? I’m at Disney at least half a dozen times each year and I spend a lot of time working with Disney Sports. Apparently, it’s their little known secret. I’m so happy I discovered it though, because WOW! It was awesome.
Unlike many other camps, Disney’s Soccer Academy is stocked with licensed professional coaches from around the world, and daily visits from REAL professional soccer players. It truly has a toolbox to bring the F.U.N. like no other camp can. The kids play in world-class facilities with other children from around the globe, enjoy age-appropriate coaching for all levels of play and learn how to understand funny accents. Yes, those Englishman, Scots and Irishmen say some funny things! Ginger and Parker loved spending the entire day with pro soccer player from the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Stuart Campbell and other pro "futbol" stars from around the globe. While kicking the ball around with Stuart, they were able to ask some hard-hitting questions too. Ginger’s first priority was to find out which Disney character was his favorite. She was pleased when he proclaimed his love for Mickey Mouse.
My main objective for sending my kids to any camp is that they learn a little and have a lot of fun. On a scale of 1-10, they both gave their day at the Disney Soccer Academy an 11. They loved the coaches, the drills, the games, competing against the pros and simply being at Disney.
As a parent, a few things stood out to me. I loved when the camp director, Glen Buckley, told the parents not to be bossy or interfere from the sidelines. He wanted the kids to enjoy and learn the game without any outside pressure. Medical Trainers remained on site in case any of the kids got hurt. Safety was top priority as two women worked to ensure no child went to the restroom alone. Disney provided nice lunches. Each child receives a boxed lunch each day which includes: turkey sandwich, apple, chips, cookie, water. This is particularly handy since almost everyone is in from out-of-town, and it’s fairly hard to pack lunches from a hotel room! The fields are perfectly maintained, so I didn’t have to worry about my babies falling in ant piles. In fact, I think Disney has a no-ant policy; bugs probably know to stay the heck away anyway. Lastly, the dry-fit shirts look sharp and the each child received a super cool Puma ball.
Selfish Parent Perks of sending your kids to the Disney Soccer Academy. You drop them off at 8:30 am and pick them up at 3:00pm. During that time, your schedule will consist of lounging by the resort pools, boating, shopping, spa services, lunch dates, adult time in the theme parks or private time in your resort room. When your kid goes to camp at home, you either go to work - or go home and do laundry. When your child attends Disney Soccer camp ... you do whatever seems fun for you. I can't wait for camp this year!
I've included the professional video here, but at this link you’ll find a less-professional video I made highlighting some of the fun stuff. It starts with a bit of excitement the coaches provided during a storm, a unique way to “head the ball” some footwork drills and so on. Most of us try to find our kids a fun camp to spend time in each summer. We also try to plan at least a little vacation. Why not combine the two? Soccer camp during the day, rides and fireworks at night! If you didn’t know about Disney Sports Camps before, I encourage you to check out DisneySoccerAcademy.com
Disney soccer camps are available three weeks each summer. The dates in 2014 are June 16-19th, June 23-26, July 7-10. Register at with discount code "FITZNESS" to save $75 off each registration.