July 22, 2011
Albuquerque, N.M. --- The final week of summer camps has wrapped up for Lobo men’s soccer, including the closing of New Mexico’s traditional “Elite Camp,” the most competitive and rigorous camp offered as a part of the Lobo Soccer Academy.
Elite camp is unique in that it most closely resembles Lobo team training. Campers get to see the UNM facilities, work directly with the current staff, and have an experience that truly represents what it would be like to play soccer at UNM.
But perhaps something even more unique about elite camp is the way in which head coach Jeremy Fishbein and his staff have organized it so as to showcase talent from all corners of the country to a variety of colleges and universities across the state of New Mexico.
Being the largest university in the state and subsequently playing home to the largest men’s soccer program, UNM has turned Elite Camp into an avenue for youth soccer across the state. This year, the Lobo staff invited coaches representing nearly every level of college soccer in the state (Division I, II, III and NAIA,) to camp, allowing them a first-hand look at some of the top soccer players in New Mexico, and the country.
Regionally, Elite Camp is very competitive and has notoriously pulled players from all over the country, this year drawing talent from Long Island, N.Y., and California alike. With such a wide pool of talent to watch, the camp’s setup undoubtedly benefits collegiate soccer throughout the state by putting coaches and players together in an informal recruiting session.
“The beauty of Elite Camp is that sometimes you get players you’ve never seen or heard of who come to camp and take advantage of the opportunity to impress you on several different levels,” Lobo assistant coach Brandon Moss said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to see prospects in the UNM environment, but also gives players the opportunity to showcase themselves to a variety of programs at once.”
And that’s not the only benefit that players get by attending camp, all instruction and tactical work aside.
“Players at Elite Camp are getting the chance to work directly alongside the current staff here, which really lends to the full experience,” Moss continued. “Ideally, each player should leave this camp knowing exactly what it would be like to be a Lobo soccer player.”
Such close interaction between staff and players is crucial for Elite Camp to be successful. The competitive environment draws players who have a certain mentality, which will drive them toward their aspirations to play collegiate and even professional soccer, and that which requires one-on-one work with coaches. The camp gives athletes who have ambitions of becoming Division I athletes the opportunity to get honest feedback and guidance from coaches who have played collegiate and professional soccer. The goal of the staff is to help direct each elite camp participant to a program at any level that will fit them best.
Additionally, elite camp is open to players who are just kicking off their high school careers, giving the younger talent base a chance to start off their recruiting process early.
“This is the most competitive atmosphere that we can possibly create,” Moss said. “And this year we had a very level, highly competitive playing field.” The staff feels that this type of environment really serves to broaden the horizons of Elite Camp participants, as it puts players from all over the country up against talent that they probably would not have otherwise seen.
The setup could not be more ideal, and the campers could not be more thrilled with their experiences. Amongst the many aforementioned benefits of Elite Camp is the opportunity for players to network with people who they had never met before. The camp turned rivals into friends, building bridges across the community, state and nation.