It has been virtually impossible to ignore the ever changing landscape in youth soccer over recent months. As the shutdown of the youth soccer world went into effect mid March, along with the rest of the global economy, it has cancelled an entire Spring season, brought youth clubs to their financial knees, made numerous youth soccer coaches unemployed and held kids indoors with no games or training to look forward to for the foreseeable future.
Challenger Sports as the leaders in the soccer camp market in North America, have felt the pain also. Our usual running of Spring seasons nationwide via Club Coaching, TinyTykes, Player Development Programs and Spring Leagues alike, came to an abrupt close and we are now navigating the Summer camp season based on state by state regulations and reopening policies and procedures. We are confident that we will be running physical programming again in multiple states, cities and towns by July onwards and look forward to re-engaging with players of all ages and abilities at that time.
Over the past two months, we have not been idle, and we have taken the opportunity to scan the youth sports market and along with our sports technology partner in TOPYA!, work tirelessly to identify longer term opportunities and discover the new normal for soccer camps and seasonal coaching alike. With this said, we are delighted to roll out our new initiative focused on Challenger Virtual Soccer Camps…starting at just $49…the options are endless for players of all ages and abilities, with the same world famous activities from our TinyTykes, Challenger International & Next Level Camps. We now can’t wait for players to join us for a Summer of virtual fun.
These new Virtual Camps, that can be run in backyards or frontrooms, are being positioned as an industry best. This is based on us having the ability to leverage the Challenger Sports coaching curriculum that has evolved over 30 years of camp instruction and then structured with a unique combination of pre-recorded coaching content that engages players in a fun and educational manner, voice overs by professional coaches and then delivered live by Challenger Sports coaches and moderators. All camps will run Monday through Friday and are 2 hours per day for CHALLENGER INTERNATIONAL (ages 6-10) and NEXT LEVEL (ages 11+) and 1 hour per day for TINYTYKES (ages 3-5). All Camps start at 9am in respective local time zones and in addition to the coaching content will include a coaching packet (ball, shirt, coaching cones and additional memorabilia), pre and post camp coaching content and additional resources, materials and podcast experiences the week of camp.
The longer term strategy looking towards 2021 and beyond, is then to continue incorporating these virtual camp experiences into weekly coaching clinics, that can be delivered during regular Spring and Fall youth soccer seasons. Thus, a compliment to regular club and youth program training sessions and the opportunity to do additional ‘at home’ training on demand. These virtual program opportunities can then also be expanded into off season training during selected times of the year. This then helps to accompany the app driven training process presently offered by our partners TopYa!, who have patented the virtually coached soccer training platform with actual live coaches watching, assessing and providing feedback to uploaded skill and training videos from players of all ages and ability levels.
The description of the word ‘virtual’ has certainly evolved over the past 60 days and we are continually striving to evolve with it. As we navigate the new norm for youth sports and camps, we continue to push the envelope with what we can deliver physically, as well as now virtually as a company. We have an ultra talented Virtual Team who are working daily to keep evolving the virtual experience we can deliver and we are excited to keep building out industry best programs and delivery systems. As a first step…we encourage you to experience the Challenger Virtual Camps this summer with your son or daughter and look forward to the time we can all get back to the green grass of soccer fields nationwide and the familiar screaming noises of players, coaches and parents alike. In the meantime stay safe out there!
For further details on our Challenger Virtual Camp Experiences please visit us at https://www.challengersports.com/virtual/
Andy Bennett is the Chief Commercial Officer for Challenger Sports, with over 25 years of experience in the sports industry.