Ava’s Summer Camps

Ava’s Summer Camps

Ava's Summer Camps

This is a complete list of Ava’s Summer Soccer Camps for 2019. Please contact us for additional information of if you have any questions about attending any of these camps. 

Ava’s Summer Camp Stats:

Ava has attended 6 summer camps for a total of 84 training hours over a 28-day span, and just over $800 in registration fees. She also collected:

  • 5 T-shirts (1 was not given out. 1 was autographed by Kim Crabbe)
  • 2 Soccer bags (1 was a prize)
  • 2  Size 4 soccer balls
  • 3 Certificates/Evaluations
  • 1 water bottle and
  • 1 Puma jersey (prize).

Ava’s Summer Camps

Each camp has a Soccer Mom review with a rating out of 5. Also, each camp gets a separate score on fun, technical training, cost, and coaching, using the legend below. If a camp was super fun it got a 5. The higher the registration fee, the lower score was given, etc.

Ava couldn’t really give me clear explanations as to why/how she rated each camp. She does have two favorites but you will have to read on to discover which ones she loved the most!

Challenger Sports – August 5, Sneads Ferry, NC

Ava's Summer Camps - Challenger Sports

This camp was pretty cool! I was pleasantly surprised by the talent and skill of Coach Matteo from Italy. He has a super kind personality and was very caring towards the kids. He taught them respect and discipline and always encouraged teamwork. The soccer instruction was quite good and I felt that the kids learned and had so much fun. I enjoyed watching the games as much as Ava enjoyed playing them.

The night before camp started, I received an email that stated the location and time of the camp had changed, which I felt was somewhat unprofessional. The age range was 3-14 with only one coach. Challenger Sports could have made things a bit smoother by having two coaches to divide the age groups a little better and have additional supervision. Regardless, it was a great camp. Included in the camp were a free ball, t-shirt, (both great quality) and a certificate of completion with a personal message from the coach. Soccer Mom Rating – 4/5. Photos 

JATA Soccer – July 29, Beulaville, NC

Ava's Summer Camps

The level of organization, planning, and thought that goes into this camp is on another level. Excellent communication leading up to the camp and a quick and easy check-in process. Camp never started more than 5 minutes after the hour. The warm-up activity was unique and highly entertaining.

Moves Like Jata is technical training and one of the main reasons Ava goes to this camp. She may not love it all the time but she needs to learn and grow in these skills to improve as a player. Having to put in some work with technical skills and competition challenges tends to put a camp in the back seat, in a 7-year-olds mind, when compared to camps that are 5% technical work and 95% fun, fun, fun. 

Campers cooled off with a wild water balloon party. They also got daily popsicles, a super soft t-shirt, awards/prizes and a certificate which included an evaluation. The kids voted for their favorite assistant coach of the week and that person got a nice bonus to their paycheck. No other camp did this, at least not publicly, and I think it just shows how kind and thoughtful Coach Jata is, to provide this award to his staff.  A Soccer Mom Favorite at 5/5. Photos | Videos


Jata Soccer Camp Review – A more in-depth and detailed review of Summer Camp 2018,  most of which still applies to the 2019 camp.

Hammerheads Wrightsville Beach – July 22, Wilmington, NC

Ava's Summer Camps

This camp was fun-based and not incredibly challenging. It was at the most beautiful location of all the camps this summer. The kids were visited by the Hammerheads mascot, Sledge. That was a total riot! He even played in the scrimmages.

One member of the coaching staff was Kim Crabbe, who is a Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee and the first African American player for the USWNT in 1986. She is a spectacular woman and a caring, highly interactive, encouraging coach. On the downside, the camp did start 15-20 minutes late every day which is a pet peeve of mine. 

Everyone cooled off at the Fire Hall; they were hosed down by a fire truck. Campers received a t-shirt. Ava’s was graciously signed by Kim Crabbe. She and several other campers received a signed Sports Illustrated cover as well. Soccer Mom Rating – 4/5. Photos | Videos

Hammerheads YMCA – July 25, Wilmington, NC

The camp was more fun-based than technical and was not very challenging. The coaches were super positive, very attentive, encouraging and highly interactive. Camp always started half an hour late and tied the Wrightsville Beach Camp for the most expensive and furthest location. Forgive me, but when you pay top dollar and drive one hour each way for a camp, a Mom can get a little bothered. Campers received a t-shirt. Additionally, I received two free passes to the YMCA for two weeks in duration. Unfortunately, I didn’t use them but I was very thankful for the gift. Soccer Mom Rating – 3/5. Photos | Videos

Runnin’ Bulldog Soccer Academy – July 8, Beulaville, NC

Ava's Summer Camps

Coaching during the camp was on point. There was a great balance between the technical skill work, challenging activities like 1v1, and the group scrimmages. The kids had (too much) fun playing a game called OUCH. What you do is blast your ball at your coach and then laugh as he screams, “OUCH!!!”

Getting the correct information about the camp was difficult because the website reflected outdated details. Campers received daily popsicles, a ball, t-shirt, ball bag, a water bottle and a certificate with evaluation. All of those things make this camp well worth the money! Soccer Mom Rating – 4.5/5. Photos | Videos

Coastal Area Soccer Academy – June 21, Holly Ridge, NC.

Ava's Summer Camps - CASA

Ava enjoyed the games and activities in this camp. One session was made up of all kinds of relay races and competitions. Another was dedicated to a 4v4 tournament. On the downside, camp always started late, ended early and had a little too much free (unsupervised) time throughout the week.

Unfortunately, the campers didn’t receive the included t-shirts and left the final session with a promise that they will be sent out. I have attempted multiple ways of getting CASA to send the shirt or arrange for a pick-up but I get the run-around and then no response. Soccer Mom Rating – 3/5. Photos | Videos


CASA Summer Camp: Part I
CASA Summer Camp: Part II
CASA Summer Camp: Part III
CASA Summer Camp Part IV

The Bottom Line

I highly recommend JATA, Hammerheads Wrightsville Beach and RBSA Camps. I’m on the fence about Challenger Sports. It’s going to be a mixed bag what you end up getting but things do seem to be improving. I would have to carefully consider attending another CASA camp.

Ava’s two favorite camps are the Wrightsville Beach camp followed by the Challenger Sports camp. Basically, she said these camps were more exciting. They had a variety of fun games, some were totally new to us. 

Learning and practicing technical skills probably isn’t as fun for younger children. Kids are generally not going to enjoy specific technical training as much as a game of Lightening or Fireball. However, we all know it’s vital to a players development and growth. I definitely respect any camp that includes such training and challenges.

I was surprised by several things this summer. Just because a camp is not necessarily challenging or does not teach or practice many technical skills, that doesn’t make it a bad camp. For someone that trains as hard as Ava does, I think it was amazing for her to just have FUN!

Thank you for considering our opinions and recommendations for your future Summer Soccer Camp in Eastern NC. 

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