ODP Region IV Pool Camp – Sydney Schultz
Well, here’s the short version of my wonderful experience! When I first heard about the news of the Region IV Pool Camp, I was so excited I did a sideways bicycle kick. My parents were not happy about me doing this in the living room because they thought I hurt myself – ha ha, I didn’t! I sought to train hard in the time leading up to the camp to prepare myself. Luckily I have great Rage teammates and coaches that helped me prepare the best I could.
On July 29th, a Monday afternoon, I arrived at the place I would be staying for camp – Cal State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, CA. The campus itself was very clean and very alabaster like too. Its style reminded me of the apartments I used to live in when I lived in Arizona, very pueblo looking. My dad parked our car next to our dorms, the Santa Cruz Village. I had grabbed my forms and went to the check-in lines. Who do I see right behind me? My friend and Rage teammate Nikki !!! – we chatted for a little as we waited to check in. We then took some pics and I went and got my key card for my dorm room. I grabbed most of my luggage from my car and headed to my room. My stuff was really heavy and luckily they had elevators. There in my room I was bunked with Brooke Oleson and Sophia Runte. Both are Nor-Cal ODP teammates of mine and I felt lucky to have them as roommates. In the other room of our dorm were So-Cal girls named Nicole, Janae and Destiny – they were all very nice. I went back down to say goodbye to my dad and gave him a huge goodbye hug. We then had to go to an orientation where a former Chivas USA MLS player talked to us about keeping balance both literally and figuratively. I sat in the front row with Nikki, Emily, and Lexi and took some notes during the orientation. After the orientation we headed back to our dorms to get prepared for our first training. We got downstairs with all our gear and met at the meeting spot – you were required to be here on time before each training. There we met our coaches: Rich Manning (our age group head coach), Danny, Collete, and Rochelle. All were nice and helpful during the entire camp and easy to talk with. To get to our training fields, we rode big white vans that could haul twelve each. The fields were huge. They were full 120-yard fields and there were more than 8 of them. In the first training session, we did some juggling and passing challenges as a warm-up. Then we did 5 v 2 or 6 v 2. I felt like my group did well at luring defenders in and then choosing the correct pass to escape, causing the defenders to chase. We found splits easily too. After training we ate dinner at Islands Café and I sought to eat as healthy as possible. I had brought a few healthy snacks with me and ended up using some of them as well. We then headed back to our dorms to unwind and sleep. I had a hard time sleeping though because I was too excited.
The next day I got up at 7:30 and headed to breakfast. After breakfast we had a little time before heading off to training. In this morning training we worked on possession and very tight small-sided drills with little goals. I felt good in these drills and sought to use good tactics and skills to keep possession and stay controlled. I may have been a little loud when communicating – it was funny as my teammates on the other side of the field said they could hear me very clearly and distinctly. We then had lunch after the training. I tried to get a good balance of carbs, fats and protein at this meal. We headed back to our dorms to recuperate and headed out for training again around 1:30. This time we primarily scrimmaged. I felt good as we combined with each other well and used good off-the-ball movement. I think our team won that game. We then headed back for the dorms to eat dinner where I had a chicken fajita with corn chips and milk. After dinner we had a class about goal-setting. Collete showed us how to do a “web” to set our goals and to show how, what, when, where and why, you need to get there. We did our academic and soccer goals, and for homework, our life goals. Mine were to get a 4.0 GPA all year, get mentally tougher for soccer and for life, and learn a new language within a year (geez I may have chomped too big on that last one!). We then went back to our dorms to relax. Me, Monse, Brooke and Sophia had a Corn Nut fight. It was awesome! We then turned off the lights and hit the hay.
Wednesday was similar to Tuesdays schedule. All that was different was that I scored in the scrimmage! A girl had flip-thrown it in the box, a defender tried to kick it out and missed and I finished cleanly. The classroom session was about scoring. They were showing some videos of goals scored – I was going nuts about the videos because they were awesome! After dinner, Maya and I were super-hyper. When we saw JoJo she had gone to get a Hot Cheetoh’s bag but she pressed the wrong button on the vending machine so she got a bag of peanuts instead. She said that obviously a higher power wanted her to have those peanuts, “so I’m going to have them”! We laughed like crazy. Another day ends with another good sleep.
Thursday was, once again, similar to Wednesday in its structure. The things that changed were the morning practice, the classroom and what I did after dark. In the morning practice, we worked on finishing in front of goal. They told us that people tried to hit it right next to the post, when in actuality they just need to hit the net without being so close to the keeper and most of the time it will go in. I was super-glad about not missing the net in this drill and having some good shots. The last scrimmage was exciting! I loved how it was even more competitive than usual, likely because everyone knew this was their last chance. I felt like I had a lot of good cutting, and was able to control the ball and play simple when needed. Afterwards, I felt I had worked hard because after the whole week my legs were super sore!! The coaches then gave us our evaluations. Collette and Rochelle gave me mine. They asked me what I thought I had done well at camp and what I could have done better. They also asked me how I felt about soccer at the moment. I really enjoyed our conversation. The classroom session this time was about “The Complete Meal” of a youth national team player – it showed things soccer players need in order to become a Youth National Team player (technically, tactically, etc.) It really inspired me. It showed me what I have been doing that is good and what else I need to do to reach my goal. Once it got dark, I started to pack, though I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to leave. I mean, I missed my family, but just loved it there – it felt like I was at home in a way. Overall, I loved the trainings, the competition, and seeing my old friends and making new ones. Some may have thought of it as work, but I thought of it as a vacation. I didn’t want to leave. I loved the whole experience.
Sadly, Friday came around. I stuffed myself with like, 7 pieces of French toast, a bowl of cereal and bacon for breakfast. We then went to another lecture afterwards. Our speaker was April Kater – she’s one of the heads of women’s soccer of the whole country. It was such an honor to shake her hand and have her talk to us about becoming a national team player some day. Brandi Chastain was also there – I had the privilege of meeting her a few weeks prior and was super excited to see her again at this camp. What was interesting in the lecture was that on one slide of the PowerPoint, they showed the first 20 years of women’s soccer of how the system worked.
Physical to Psychological to Tactical to Technical
But now-a-days they’ve switched it to:
Technical to Tactical to Psychological to Physical
I found that quite interesting. After the meeting, we prepared for our departure. There were many good players from all over the western USA I got to know and play with, and it was a little sad to see us all prepare to go our separate ways. It sucked having to heave my luggage downstairs, not because it was heavy, but because even it wanted to stay J. Well, when I was waiting for my ride, I felt sad about leaving, but good about the week of soccer.
I want to sincerely thank all those that have supported me.
Futbol Forever, Sydney Schultz