NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Welcoming 12-18 year-old girl's soccer players from across the country, the Bruins' coaching staff wanted to create a similar experience of what a member of the Belmont women's soccer team is all about.
The camp allowed campers to be on the Belmont campus, stay in the dorms, eat in the dining hall in addition to getting to know the coaches and some of the current student-athletes.
"We wanted to give the campers a feel of what being a Belmont soccer player is about," camp director and assistant coach Valerie Tysinger said. "[I saw] lots of energy and tenacity. (The campers) looked ready to get after it."
Over four days, campers practiced at E.S. Rose Park for three sessions a day in a similar environment as the Bruins. Along with the drills and games allowing the players to improve their skills in a high-level environment, the camp allowed incoming freshmen to bond with their new teammates.
All five of Belmont's incoming freshmen participated in the Elite Camp last week, allowing them to build team chemistry and get a taste of the routine that will take place over the next four years.
"I think since it's so soon when we report, it helps you get to know where you're staying and your way around campus and where the field is and what it's going to be like in preseason with multiple sessions in a day," camper and freshman Avery Nowak said. "I think it will really ease the transition."
There have been a plethora of Belmont soccer players that have become a part of the women's soccer program due to the enjoyment from camp, including current senior MacKenzie Firek. Firek first attended the Elite Camp during her sophomore year of high school, where the coaching staff was able to see her skills and personality.
Looking to pick a school where the chemistry was high, she knew Belmont was the right choice after three years of attending the camp. As a counselor, she wanted to help the campers gain a similar experience.
"This is where my passion for soccer started, just coming out to summer camps like this," Firek said. "It was easy to say yes and to get to come out here again, especially going into my senior season. It's my last chance to be around camp."
Inclement weather stopped the action on the field on the camp's first day, but that did not stop the campers from putting themselves in chemistry-building situations inside. That chemistry translated on the field the following three days in scrimmages, providing a comparable experience of meshing with a team.
"At these camps, it gives you a good taste to come and be together and grind together because it's a long four days and it gets hot at these afternoon sessions," Firek said. "It's a good mentality builder and it's a good chemistry builder, so you can learn to pick each other up and just keep fighting together."