COVINGTON, Ga. — Eastside welcomed in a record-setting number of attendees for its annual soccer camp last week.
The Eagles hosted a grand total of 117 campers for the three-day event. It was the highest attendance since the camp’s inception — by nearly 50 kids. But with all hands on deck from Eastside’s boys’ and girls’ soccer team, as well as assistance from the East Atlanta Football Club, a local semi-professional organization, it was smooth sailing all week long.
“It was a fantastic event,” Eastside boys’ soccer coach Champ Young said. “Between the number of kids that showed up, our boys and girls who helped with the camp, and then the East Atlanta FC guys coming in, it was a perfect storm. It was just fantastic across the board.”
Young recalled the camp’s humble beginnings in his first few years at the helm, when just six kids signed up. Seeing the growth the program has undergone during his time has been astounding, he said.
“That was definitely the biggest group we’ve had. I think the closest before that was 70, so yeah,” he said with a chuckle, “we definitely crushed that one.”
There was a buzz around the area in the days and weeks leading up to the event. Young and his staff put out feelers and gauged that they’d likely get around 100 kids to sign up, surpassing totals of recent years. In response, he implored all the players in Eastside’s soccer program to do anything they could to help with preparation, coaching and cleanup.
His kids answered the call.
“Ah, man. Our players did fantastic!” Young said. “I just pushed real hard for our boys and girls, both teams, to be there as much as possible so that way we had the numbers to cover it all. They showed out. They were awesome.”
Young noted that the importance of youth camps is to keep the sport alive and well. Soccer players of all degrees of experience were on display over three days, from novice learners to varsity studs to semiprofessional footballers.
“It was really cool to see all the levels being represented in one spot,” Young said. “We were really just a central hub for it all.”