With the school year racing to its close,mailboxes across the Washington area are filling up with summer campbrochures. Few programs offer thechance to learn from professional athletes themselves, and fewer still providethe opportunity to pick up tips from a legend in their respective sport.
Come early July, the Jaime Moreno Striker Campwill do both.
"His resume is second to none, ofcourse," D.C. United camp director Nolan Sheldon said from his RFKoffice. "What Jaime has doneis put together a curriculum that really enhances the goal-scorer'sability."
There is no more-qualified professor on the subject offinishing than Moreno, who retired in 2010 as Major League Soccer's all-timeleading scorer. Through a 15-yearMLS career, the Bolivian scored 133 times and displayed an unparalleled abilityto find space inside the opponent's penalty area. Moreno acknowledges the somewhat innate nature ofgoal-scoring in general, but says there are plenty of ways to improve a youngplayer's confidence in front of goal.
"Forwards have to have a nose to become agoal scorer," says Moreno, who joined the Black-and-Red Academy as aTechnical Training coach in March of last year. "Sometimes it comes natural, but you can also work onit. There are things like movement,on and off the ball, that kids may not understand yet and that is what we arehere for."
Moreno's weeklong camps (July 9-13 at RFK Stadium &July 30-Aug 3 at Maryland Soccerplex) are far from the only offerings during abusy summer for United's Academy staff. In conjunction with the striker program, D.C. will runspecialized goalkeeper training sessions under the careful watch of bothacademy and local collegiate goalkeeping coaches. All told, the club will host a grand total of 17 camps thissummer, with locations ranging from Leesburg, Virginia to Germantown,Maryland.
A pair of late-July residential camps - at HoodCollege in Frederick and the Friends School in Sandy Spring, Maryland - serveas the focal point of the summer schedule. With three sessions daily, these programs give players thechance to immerse themselves in a competitive soccer environment while - perhaps- catching the eye of D.C.'s Academy Staff.
"There are 10 to 15 kids in our academy right now that weactually saw for the first time in our camp system," added Sheldon, whoalso serves as the Head Coach for United's U-18 Academy side. "It's another opportunity for kidsthat have big goals to play academy soccer to be seen. We are always looking for goodplayers."