It’s easy to see why, even after more than 20 years, the Bobby Brockman Soccer Camp Academy is as popular as ever.
Sixty-five soccer players between the ages 7-14 were present and at work at Glynn Middle School on Tuesday for Day 2 of the five-day youth camp.
Fast-paced drills and personal interaction with Brockman keeps campers engaged and enthralled, but the long-time Glynn Academy boys soccer coach credits feeling of accomplishment for his camp’s acclaim.
“At the end of the week, they feel like they’ve accomplished something,” Brockman said. “It’s a five-day camp. We’re here at 9 in the morning and finish at 3. They get more touches on the ball this week than they probably will playing club soccer for the first month and half, two months.”
Twelve-year-old Sam Barbee echoed that sentiment.
The fourth-year camper cited the organization of the stations and the efficiency in which the drills are performed as reasons he’s continued to return year after year. Aside from frequent water breaks, there is little down time over the course of the day.
“My favorite part of the camp is probably indoor soccer,” Barbee said. “In the championship, I hit a last shot to win. I felt pretty good about it.”
Of course, Brockman is not alone in working with the campers. Frederica Academy girls soccer coach Gabe Gabriel is lending a hand this week, as well as Southern Soccer Academy director of coaching Lee Swafford as well as current and former Glynn Academy players.
Clay Watkins, the Region 2-6A boys Co-Player of the Year, now qualifies as one of the former players, coming off a senior season that saw him notch a region-high 27 goals with 13 assists, and he spoke about the memories he made at the same camp years ago.
“I came to my first one when I was 5 or 6, so that was one of the best things that I could do,” Watkins said. “Coach Brockman has always been great getting into the community, developing young kids.
“A lot of these guys, and the girls too, grow up and go to Glynn Academy and end up playing for him. I think it’s an awesome experience because a lot of these drills that we do, we do at GA.”
Most of the camp instructors and current Red Terrors went through the camp at one point, and now they want to give back to the next generation.
“It feels great,” Watkins added. “I had people do the same thing for me and it meant a lot. I looked up to a lot of guys that played at GA before me, and when they were there and being my counselor, and when they were helping me out, helping me grow when I was a younger player, it definitely meant a lot, definitely influenced me. So I just want to do the same for them.”
And Brockman’s camp is mutually beneficial to the area’s soccer players and the Glynn Academy soccer program.
The Terrors are consistently in the postseason hunt — the girls competing in the state championship game last year and the boys making a state semifinal appearance in 2011 — and the vested interest in developing skills at an early age is a big reason as to why.
“We like to play a certain way at Glynn Academy,” Brockman said. “If you get there in ninth grade and you don’t have a technical foundation, you can’t control the ball, pass the ball, dribble the ball, shoot the ball, and don’t understand some different tactics, you’d struggle.
“It’s just nice to see these kids get a hold of a good technical foundation when they’re young and then they turn around, and they get to high school, and they can use it.”