Friday was a very disappointing afternoon to the players at the MetroStars Youth Fantasy Camp.
It was disappointing because it marked the end of a very special week. The Fantasy Camp players walked out of their team locker room at Giants Stadium for the final time this year. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged among the group of kids, who started the week as strangers but left as friends.
"This was the greatest experience ever for my son," remarked one parent as he exited the stadium. "I wish I could have been in his shoes this week. I bet his whole team will be here next season."
The MetroStars first-ever Youth Soccer Fantasy Camp kicked off last Monday. The camp drew players from as far away as Pennsylvania and Eastern Connecticut. Players were treated to a first class experience and had the chance to train like the pros. Players dressed in the team locker room, each with their own personalized locker and individual uniform (complete with their name on the back - which was a huge hit). They trained on the field at Giants Stadium, led by the MetroStars Player Development coaching staff.
During this week, the players were hosted to a variety of special events. MetroStars Head Coach Bob Bradley got the week going with a welcome message where he provided tips on how to excel in soccer and how to achieve goals. Head Athletic Trainer Stu Schwerner talked to the players about the importance of nutrition and diet for athletes. First-team players Fabian Taylor, Mike Magee, Zach Wells and Seth Stammler also met with the youngsters, giving them pointers on their secrets of success. A unique speaker, Sports Psychologist Dr. Dave Pilchman, talked to the players about how to incorporate the right attitude and mindset while playing intense, focused soccer.
During training, the players engaged in premier training sessions, which impressed MetroStars forward Mike Magee. Magee himself was impressed by the ability of all of the campers involved. "It's really weird to see how similar this camp is to our training with the MetroStars," Magee said. "The level of play and drills set up by the coaches is really impressive, and the high skill level of these kids surprised me. These kids can play for real."
In addition to all of this excitement, the participants also viewed a live training session of the Metros first-team. Assistant Coach David Kammarman outlined what the team was working on and the importance of each drill. The team's ability and talent on the field captivated the campers.
Before calling a week, the kids received their evaluations from the Metrostars Coaches. Along with great memories and the ultimate experience, the kids took home tips on how to improve their game.
All in all, the first annual Youth Soccer Fantasy Camp left a lasting impression on everyone, including the MetroStars players, camp coaches and parents, but most importantly it was a dream come true for the kids.
If you are interested in information about next year's Fantasy Camp, e-mail Lori Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 583-7039. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.