Tahoe Training Camps brings high-level soccer to the region, locals hit the pitch during South Lake Tahoe camp
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Through Tahoe Training Camps, Leon Abravanel is sharing the sport he loves with his hometown — and at a high level. The South Tahoe High alum founded the company whose soccer day camp debuted this week on the South Shore.
“This is my hometown, this is what I love and I want to give our kids and our community the best possible resources that I can,” Abravanel said. “This camp is all for locals — the goal is to give them the highest-level coaching that we possibly can in a camp experience.”
The five-day camp was held Monday through Friday, July 25-29, with the first four days at South Tahoe Middle School before a beach soccer day on the sand at Regan Beach. Forty-two boys and girls ages 6 to 15 participated in the camp, with most hailing from the area.
“It’s pretty cool to have professional coaching just two minutes from where you live — you show up and the coaches expect you to do your best,” said Sydney Tannaci, a camp participant and incoming seventh grader at STMS. “They’re adding different challenges each day.”
What sets Tahoe Training Camps apart is its level of coaching and instruction, provided by California-based one. Soccer Schools from its network of coaches across the nation. The South Lake Tahoe camp featured coaches with professional and collegiate experience, including Antonio Alonso Lopez — who played six seasons for Club Puebla in the Mexican first division.
“We’re showing them the basics of soccer players — technique, dribbling, shooting and good body mechanics,” Alonso Lopez said. “We teach all this and we coach our philosophy — be a good player and be a champion.”
The former pro conducted the camp along with Juan Martinez, a coach in the Colorado Rapids youth system, and Alek Cosio-Altimirano, who played collegiately at Florida Southern. Camp days included instruction, drills, soccer tennis, short-sided games and scrimmages.
“It’s short because it’s one week, but we do everything,” Alonso Lopez said. “They can pick one or two things, and they can use it with on their teams and at their club. It’s about growing as a soccer player.”
During the camp, players performed exercises targeted at improving speed, agility and quickness, drills involving dribbling and shooting, and overall technique with both legs. And each session ended with rhythmic clapping and the group chanting “Ole!”
“The coaches have done an excellent job and their energy doesn’t stop. We’ve been really fortunate with such a great staff,” Abravanel said. “These are the kind of kids that want to get better, and they’re doing everything in their power to make it better. This is icing on the cake for these players.”
Tahoe Training Camps — run on the South Shore in coordination with Lake Tahoe Unified School District, South Tahoe Futbol Club and the local AYSO — also has a pair of residential camps this summer geared mainly to teams and players from outside the area. The North Lake Tahoe camp was held July 10-15, with players staying at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village.
“We’re bringing up teams to show them what Tahoe is all about and to train at altitude,” Abravanel said. “We trained every single day and did a lot of fun Tahoe activities.”
The South Lake Tahoe residential camp is scheduled for Aug. 7-12, with players staying at the Nevada State 4-H Camp. Its participants will include two teams from the San Jose Earthquakes Academy, and training sessions during the camp will be open to local players and coaches interested in watching some of the top youth players from Northern California.
“These are some of the highest-level players in the country — it’s a step below the National Team,” Abravanel said about the Major League Soccer club’s youth program. “We’re excited about that one.”
Abravanel said he would like to expand the camps next summer in terms of both time and offerings.
For more information on Tahoe Training Camps, visit http://www.tahoetrainingcamps.com.