Chowan soccer coach to host local camp

Published 5:54 pm Friday, June 24, 2016

In late July, Beaufort County’s soccer players will get the chance to take their talents to the next level. Chowan head soccer coach Chris Whalley will come to Washington to host a weeklong camp from July 22-29. Sessions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be held for younger players grades 2nd through 8th. Earlier sessions from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. will be held for high school players, too.

Terra Ceia coach Nate Burns had the chance to see Chowan play a few years back and thought their coach did a great job, so he started working on bringing him to Beaufort County to help soccer players in the area. Washington’s boys and girls have enjoyed plenty of success recently and the Knights made the state playoffs for the first time this past season.

The objective is to take the local talent, both current and up-and-comers, and give them the tools to become even better.

“He runs camps with some of his players. He’ll have foreign players with him — kids from France, kids from England,” Burns said. “I think his bio said he played professionally and his assistant played for Appalachian State. … As long as we could get 20 kids to come (to the camp), he said it would run smoothly.”

So far, Burns is about halfway to his registration goal.

Much like the Optimist Club camp, which recently wrapped up, the goal is to show younger players the ropes, regardless of their soccer experience.

“Whether you’re a beginner or if you thing you might not like soccer and want to try it, or if you’re a serious player and want to come away with a better understanding, this camp is for you,” Burns said.

Washington midfielder Gabriel Vallez-Torres dribbles down the field in a playoff game last season. Local high school players will get a chance to work with college coaches and players, get an evaluation and see what opportunities may be ahead of them after high school.

Soccer isn’t the most popular sport in the county — or in eastern North Carolina as a whole. However, the growing success of local programs is indicative of soccer being on the rise in Beaufort County.

Because of that, Burns wants high school players in the area to get a shot at being evaluated. A lot of the best soccer players — especially among those that Burns coaches at Terra Ceia — are multi-sport athletes. For many of them, soccer isn’t their primary focus. He wants to at least show them the opportunities they could have at the next level.

“I really wanted him to come and do an evaluation camp for other kids who may want to play after high school and need to know where to go,” he said. “I think they’ll definitely understand what next-level coaching is all about and what it takes to be an elite player or be better than you were.

“We play to have fun, but it’s fun to be good. That’s my motto.”

Other than coaching at Terra Ceia, Burns is a supporter of the Pam Pack’s program and also works individually with players in the county. He wants his clients to not only take advantage of this opportunity to get evaluated by a college coach, but also to get a first-hand look at the college opportunities available.

Moreover, it’s another step in building the soccer culture in the area. Washington, Terra Ceia and others have had success recently. Working with younger groups, Burns hopes it will ensure that success isn’t a flash in the pan. For the older players nearing the end of their careers, it will hopefully give them an option to continue playing beyond high school.

“We want everybody to play after high school. We don’t want their career to end after high school,” Burns said. “We want people to play forever. I’m almost 40 years old and I still play with the high school kids.”

Anyone interested can signup at