Boys soccer: Hudson Valley ID camp providing another path to the next level
SHRUB OAK – The goal is the same.
Each of the 80 players attending the fifth annual Hudson Valley Soccer ID Camp this weekend at Lakeland High School is looking for attention. It’s a showcase. There are college coaches in the shadows taking notes.
“We all want to get to the next level so it’s really important to make sure you’re seen,” said Eric Popp, a rising senior midfielder at John Jay-East Fishkill. “You need to get out there and get recognized because everyone here is a good player.”
And there are only so many roster spots.
Less than 6% of the boys soccer players competing in high school this season will make a college roster, according to NCAA statistics. The number of players from Section 1 and Section 9 who make that jump is on the rise.
This showcase was created as an affordable option for players who do not have the desire or funds to join a high-level academy program.
“And that’s a huge part of this,” said Lakeland coach Tim Hourahan, who’s been the catalyst from the start. “Look at what Daniel Dipolito did last year with Somers. He created lifelong memories without ever missing a high school game or practice. He’s going to play at Fordham after playing three incredible months of high school soccer last fall. Kids see that and know it’s an avenue you can take. Matteo Marra came back today and spoke with the boys. He played for Ossining and went to St. John’s. Matteo talked with everyone about how great his high school experience was.”
Playing for a well-known academy program typically means giving up the high school experience, but have a higher percentage of players who commit to play in college.
The players here are mostly standouts in high school who also train with club teams in the winter, spring or summer.
“I like the energy in high school soccer with the fans,” said Michael Rodriguez, a rising senior attacking midfielder at Lakeland. “I have friends on my club team, but I’ve known the guys on my high school team for a long time. so that makes it more fun. You can still get to college this way. At this camp, a lot of kids don’t have the chance or the money to go play for a high-level academy team, but they still have a chance to go.”
From left, Beacon’s Avery Davis moves the ball away from Yorktown’s Michael Munson in game action during the Hudson Valley Soccer Camp at Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak July 14, 2022.
Hourahan founded the camp along with Somers coach Brian Lanzetta and former Mamaroneck coach Rich Becker. All three remain highly involved along with Bronxville coach Donny Lucas, who was brought in for his expertise with goalies.
The day begins with a 90-minute development session run by a college coach.
Chris Taylor (Plattsburgh), Gary LaPietra (Brockport) and Matt Viggiano (Marist) are handling that this week. There’s a recruiting seminar run by Kyle Clancy (New Paltz) and informative conversations with Marra and John Denis, a former Lakeland standout who played at Columbia and is now an NYCFC2 player. Following a quick refueling break, there are two 40-minute, running-time games on separate fields. It gets competitive between the lines.
There will be 25-30 colleges represented and the weekend ends with an all-star game.
“I’m here because the coaches offer a high level of training with lots of great players around,” said Bradyn Primus, a rising senior striker from Goshen. “It makes you better as a player and helps you prepare for the season. It’s great motivation seeing that players who took a similar pathway are succeeding. This shows that hard work and dedication no matter which way you go will get you to the next level. And it’s great to see new competition, meet new players and go against them. These are connections that could go on into college and on into life.”
This isn’t the first time most of these standouts have crossed paths, which adds to the experience.
“I know a lot of players from past years so it’s good to see them again and have a good time,” Popp added. “That’s really what it’s about.”