There are different ways kids spend their summer vacation. Some go on trips with their families, others travel to tropical locations with friends, and a handful or so just sit at home and relax while waiting for the first day of school to inevitably hit.
But a select few kids decide to put all that summer fun on hold to compete in a sport they are passionate about.
Granted, if they’re good enough, those athletes get to take a trip during summer anyway as in the case of Woodland Park’s Sam Levy.
The 12-year-old, who is part of the Under-13 Rush soccer program in Colorado Springs, received the opportunity to travel down to Albuquerque, N.M., for a four-day soccer camp July 17-21.
The camp, made up of kids in Rush programs from across the country, was a chance for Levy and others to learn more about the game both on and off the pitch.
“In one word, ‘Unbelievable’,” Levy said of his experience in New Mexico. “It was just so much fun. (I got) a lot of touches on the ball, lots of training, and classroom sessions which was good. It was just a ton of fun.”
The chance to play with some of the best U-13 kids from around the nation was very beneficial to Levy, who has been playing soccer since the age of 3. He was able to pick up pointers through drills and matches, as well as by watching the quality of the other players.
“There were some really good players there,” Levy said. “Just watching some of them on the field you can learn so much. The coaches were really good. We had three coaches that helped us train. Some focused on the team (aspect) and lucky for me I had a coach basically coach me and help me at my position.”
Luckily for Levy, he also has the support of his whole family behind him. This extends from his parents and his older brother Max, whom he credits as the reason why he has steadily improved over the years.
“My brother Max has really helped me,” Levy said. “He’s always encouraging me and (because I’m on Rush) he takes me to Meadow Wood to shoot around and do drills with me when (if I wasn’t on Rush) he normally wouldn’t do that with me.”
Of course, it’s not often a kid from Woodland Park is on a team made up of kids who will be attending high school at state powerhouses like Cheyenne Mountain or Lewis-Palmer. Yet, Levy has more than held his own over the past couple months, impressing his coaches and having no problem fitting in.
“Sam’s a great leader,” said Rush U-13 head coach Nick Massa. “In Albuquerque I had him go to a captain session because he’s such a great leader vocally and on the field he just works harder than everyone else… Woodland Park has a lot of great athletes and we’re trying to get them down here and coming to Rush. It adds some different players and widens our area of where we can draw from.”
It’s pretty obvious that for Sam Levy, having the opportunity to play soccer all summer, visiting places he’s never been before, and meeting new people, all while playing a game he loves, is truly a vacation in itself.