Jata Soccer Camp took place August 6th through to the 9th, from 8AM to 11AM (ages 5-10) at 108 E Park Drive in Beulaville, North Carolina. Camp sessions for the 11-17 year old’s was from 12PM to 3PM. The Jata Soccer Camp is run by Coach Richard Jata. Please visit his website and read all about him here.
Every morning, Coach Jata did a camp greeting. He always asked the kids if they were having fun and if they were learning something new. He would say a prayer for a great, safe day and then the kids would begin practicing footwork skills, which were TAPS, Turns (and Tricks for the 8-10 year old’s). Each session had a main skill – one morning it was passing and receiving, another was shooting goals. They would work on several drills to practice that skill.
Later in the morning they often played a game called Fireball, which the kids all loved. The coaches would (gently) kick balls at the campers as they ran between two points on the field. As campers got hit, they would help the coaches in kicking the balls at the remaining kids until there was only one person left. The last half hour was dedicated to the campers using their new skills in scrimmages.
On the final day of Jata Soccer Camp, the campers competed in various skills challenges – passing, shooting etc. in hopes of winning some great prizes. To me, this equates to their hard work paying off, which is an excellent thing for kids to learn. I have to commend the kids on being really good sports during the challenges. Not everyone can win, right? They all handled it very well. No drama!
After all the challenges were complete, it was time to give out the awards, say our thank you’s and our goodbye’s. Taking Ava to soccer camps is exhausting – even though I mostly sit and observe her do all of the work 🤣. Even so, I am always sad when they come to an end. It becomes routine when you go everyday. For several days after, it just feels like something is missing. Can’t wait for the next one!
The camp is being reviewed on several factors that I think are key areas when considering sending your child to a camp. They are: safety, value, location, organization, communication, training and fun.
This is one of the most important things to consider when providing a service such as a sports camp. Each parent/guardian had to sign a safety waiver for their child to participate. You can view that here.
It’s summer time, temperatures can be extreme, on top of the physical effort the campers are already putting out. Water coolers were provided and the campers got frequent water breaks to maintain hydration, as well as a canopy tent for shade. One thing that I noticed was that there was a readily available first aid kit. This is a first, in my camp experience. Thankfully we didn’t really end up needing it. *I just want to note here that there was a back up indoor location in case of inclement weather that could have been a risk, such as lightning.
I asked Ava, “Did you feel safe at the camp?” She said, “Yes, because I was with my friends.”
You can’t ask for much better in a soccer camp at $85.00 per child. The training was challenging and unique, with a fair amount of one on one time. Campers received popsicles everyday and were provided with a (quality, soft) camp T-shirt, not to mention all the water balloons for the water fight.
They had water cooler stations (with cups). The kids and activities were all supervised and organized extremely well. Plus, several campers won awards including T-shirts, soccer balls and sports bags, for winning challenges on the final day.
Jata Soccer Camp was held at 108 E Park Drive in Beulaville, North Carolina. The field was well groomed and there was ample space for all of the activities. The only thing anyone could really complain about was the fire ants. This was addressed on the first day and was quickly taken care of as best as could be done. No major incidents occurred as a result. My personal issue with the location was that it was a 35 minute drive. Of course this is my own issue and is nothing against the camp 😋. PS: It was totally worth the drive!
Wow! This camp actually has a schedule. That’s right, a daily schedule! I’ve been to many soccer camps with Ava over the last 3-4 years and we have never received a daily schedule. I think this is super awesome and it demonstrates the level of organization that went into making Jata Soccer Camp a success.
The schedule blocked out time for a coaches meetings every morning. Upon our arrival, the fields would already laid out and set up for the activities with cones and goals etc. Because of this, no time was spent setting up while leaving the kids unoccupied and unattended.
As previously mentioned, Coach Jata also secured a back up location: a school gym, should there be inclement weather. This is very rare, in my experience. Many camps will try to find ways to make up time, but unfortunately it hardly ever works out.
Coach Jata sent out a reminder email about two weeks before the camp start date and again, one week before. This email provided camp information from drop off time to what campers should bring. During the camp, he didn’t hesitate to reach out and see how we were enjoying the experience:
Coach Jata wrote, “Did Ava enjoy herself today? I want to make sure you girls have the best experience possible. Please let me know and I will work to make the adjustments.”
You can just tell that this is someone who cares about what they are doing, who they are influencing and effecting.💜
The coaches provided unique, quality training to these youth players. We hadn’t seen a lot of the footwork skills (TAPS, turns, tricks) that were taught, in any other coaching. I think everyone was challenged, every day. I am so thankful that there was at least a half hour of scrimmaging each day, because that experience is invaluable. The video below shows Ava practicing some of those skills. Some she knew, others like the circles and squares, she did not.
“Ava, what was your favorite skill that you learned at camp?” She replied, “The Push, pull move.”
From popsicle parties to water balloon fights, Coach Jata and his crew made sure that everyone had the opportunity to have fun. Even as a parent, I had so much fun watching all the activities and the “special events.” The coaches were very positive and encouraging and they created an outstanding, fun learning environment.
I asked Ava, “What was your favorite thing(s) about Jata Soccer Camp?” She answered, “The water balloon fight and the challenges.”
Jata Soccer Camp gets a 10/10 rating from Ava and I. I have taken the time to really think about the whole experience and there’s just nothing negative to say about it. I can’t even think of something I would change, other than the location being closer to us 😛.
“Ava, what did you learn at camp this week?” She said, “Sometimes it’s fun, but sometimes it’s not cause you have to work hard so you can score goals. Also, teamwork – you have to work together.”
In closing, I have to say a heart-felt thank you to Coach Jata, his wife and his assistant coaches. Thank you to all the parents/guardians for bringing your wonderful kids to share in the Jata Soccer Camp experience (and to challenge my daughter). Lastly, thank you to the all the kids who worked so hard, played so hard and got along so well. Thank you!
I asked Ava, “If Coach Jata was here right now, what would you say to him?” Ava said, “Nice job Coach Jata, nice job!”
Ava’s final thoughts: “I liked everything, nothing was wrong. I like playing soccer. Just put that on there okay?”
Thanks for reading all the way to the end 🤗!
If you live in the area, I am telling you – don’t miss out on the next Jata Soccer Camp. Just don’t!