Hawk Academy to run soccer camp

Published 8:33 pm Thursday, July 28, 2016

By Henry Luzzatto


Suffolk Youth Athletic Association will bring a new soccer camp to Suffolk next month.

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Hawk Soccer Academy will run a four-day camp Aug. 8-11 to teach fundamentals of the game and help develop players. Hawk Soccer Academy’s director, Chris Whalley, said the camp will help players develop their skills as well as their attitudes on the field.

“The camp will focus on technical skills and individual techniques, as well as player development,” Whalley said. “We want to have the players learn to be good teammates and sports.”

Hawk Soccer Academy has hosted camps all over the Hampton Roads area for years, but this is the first year it will offer a camp at SYAA.

Whalley, a Suffolk resident, said he spoke with volunteers at SYAA about putting the camp together, because they wanted to expand soccer’s profile in the city.

“Since I live in Suffolk, we’re always trying to grow the game in the area.”

Cash Castillo, a soccer coach at SYAA, said they were looking for soccer coaches and camps and Whalley fit the bill perfectly.

“We’re always looking for coaches for the youth,” Castillo said. “We knew he would be able to provide knowledge and success stories.”

Castillo said the organization made its decision to host the camp after observing a drill demonstration put on by Whalley. Castillo said Whalley’s teaching abilities and interactions with the players convinced him to have Whalley host a camp at SYAA.

“He didn’t run anything that another coach wouldn’t be able to do,” Castillo said, “but his overall attitude and interaction with players was great. You could tell that the players were receptive and getting what he was teaching them.”

The camp will be held at the SYAA sports complex Aug. 8-11 from 6 to 8 p.m. The camp is open to players ages 5-16, and it costs $85 per person to attend.

Whalley, who also serves as the head soccer coach at Chowan University, will lead the camp. He will be assisted by staff from the Hawk Academy, as well as some of Whalley’s own Chowan University players.

Whalley said learning from college players and a college coach will be a positive experience for the kids who attend the camp.

“I think it will inspire some of the kids,” he said. “At Chowan, we’re always looking to recruit from people in the area. Who knows, maybe some of these players will come to the university eventually.”

Whalley said the camp is designed to fit the needs of the players that sign up. Though the focus is on fundamentals, the exact drills and ideas will be customized for the levels of the players, he said.

“We gear towards the fundamentals,” he said, “but we may take the skills to a higher level for the older players.”

Whalley is no stranger to coaching the game. He has been the coaching at the college and professional level for nearly 15 years, and played at the professional level for a short period of time.

Castillo said working with a coach of this level is an invaluable experience for both the coaches and the players.

“It’s not every day you’re able to get someone with that experience to come down here,” he said. “Most of those coaches focus on elite players, so it’s amazing for him to coach the youth.”

Despite his experience working with professional and college players with tremendous technical ability, Whalley said the most important aspect of the camp is good attitude and sportsmanship, not skill.

“We want them to get some good lessons and discipline,” he said. “As long as you’re giving your best, you’re successful. We just want to help kids develop and improve.”