By Ottawa Sports Pages, for Ottawa TFC Soccer Club
More than a decade removed from Ottawa TFC’s morning summer camps, past Toronto FC professional soccer player Brogan Engbers still remembers how valuable an experience it was.
“The soccer was always good,” recalls Engbers, now the U9-U18 high performance manager with his hometown club. “There were pretty intense days, but you come away from them feeling like you accomplished something and just had fun. That was the biggest thing — the camps were fun.”
Now, after a career that’s taken him to the national U17 team, the NCAA and TFC II, Engbers is back to run Ottawa TFC’s summer camp for the second year. The 24-year-old Liberty University business administration and sport management grad is looking to give kids the same experience he had — a competitive, fun week with one of Canada’s top soccer clubs.
The week-long camp, which runs in three sessions between July 10 to Aug. 11, is hosted at Millennium Park in Orleans, where the club is located, for two weeks. The final week of the camp, Aug. 8 to 11, will take place around Gloucester High School.
The half-day camp begins with a session that engages players’ technical work and physical literacy, getting them moving while also teaching soccer skills.
After a snack, kids will tackle tactical work through fun games that get them thinking through soccer scenarios.
Camp ends with small-sided games, with music pumping over the speakers and a celebration for the winning team.
“It caters towards players’ development,” Engbers underlines. “We’re going through a bunch of different exercises, and it’s really a holistic approach to soccer development over the course of a week.”
It’s not all soccer, though. Kids will have the chance to enjoy the water park at Millennium, or play games like capture the flag.
“It’s just a good time,” Engbers highlights. “Kids really enjoy it.”
What sets Ottawa TFC soccer camp apart from others is the experienced staff who enthusiastically lead the programming.
“People that work those camps are truly dedicated and love the club and love the kids and want to see them grow,” signals Engbers, one of many Ottawa TFC alumni who work at the camp.
Since it’s located just steps from the Ottawa TFC clubhouse, senior club staff will come out to participate as well. Parents and players frequently share that campers come away from the week feeling more confident in their soccer abilities.
“It’s like a melting pot of people that just really care and put a lot of effort into making the camps an amazing experience for those kids,” Engbers notes. “These camps go a long way in kids’ development not only in terms of soccer, but also their leadership skills.
“Since the whole staff is composed of current and former Ottawa TFC players, the players are able to see first-hand what leading by example means, directly from their older peers. It’s a very special atmosphere.”
Learn more about Ottawa TFC summer camps and register via: OttawaTFC.com/camps.