By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
Youth players in Northern Nevada will have the first chance to learn the game from some of the best coaches there are from an organization that has one of the world's most recognizable names in soccer.
That only makes sense since many of the family members with the name live here in Carson City.
The Chastain Soccer Academy will offer their first soccer camps in Northern Nevada in June. Chad Chastain and his sister, Brandi, have established the academy and are its co-directors. The Chastains have several family members who live in Carson City, including their grandparents, Roger and Hazel Chastain.
Chad was in Northern Nevada over the weekend to promote the upcoming camps. Camps will be held 9 a.m.-noon June 19-22 at Reno's South Valley Sports Complex and from 9 a.m.-noon June 25-28 and 1:30-4:30 p.m. June 25-28 at Edmonds Park.
The camps will be for boys and girls 9-17, although 8-year-olds will be welcome as well. Cost is $225.
Chad and Brandi have offered camps together in various capacities, but these will be the inaugural camps for the Chastain Academy. Brandi became one of the world's most recognizable players with the United States National team, winning two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles. She also played professionally in the now defunct Women's United Soccer Association.
Others on the academy staff are Brandi's husband, Jerry Smith, the head coach for Santa Clara University's women's soccer team; Chad's wife, Erin Chastain, the head coach of DePaul's women's soccer team; David Burgee, the academy's assistant director and a former assistant at Oregon; and Mike Smith, the associate head coach for the Oregon women's soccer team.
Chad is also an assistant at DePaul and has been a player and coach on the professional level.
"It was something I felt we needed to do," said Chad about the academy. "Soccer has been a part of our lives for 30 years."
Chad said Carson City is the perfect fit for the academy. "It's a booming community," he said.
The academy is designed to provide players with the highest technical and tactical training possible. The ultimate goal is to give boys and girls a chance to play at the highest level possible whether it be Division I or even professionally.
There are various professional leagues for men and an effort to reestablish a women's professional league.
And the camps will give younger players the chance to meet with Brandi, Chad said.
"If the camps make a difference in helping even just one or two players meet their goals, then they've been worth it," Chad said.
"We're hoping to be a part of just a sliver of that," said Chad about helping players reach their goals.
But while the camps will stress a high standard, there will also be an emphasis on players enjoying the game.
"They're going to have a fun time, but were going to teach them a higher level skill," said Chad about the players in the camps.
Chad and Burgee also said the camps will be catered to players' ages, ability and gender. They noted that if girls see women performing high level skills, then they'll believe they could achieve those skills as well.
In addition, Burgee and Chad noted that many youth soccer players aren't playing at the technical level where they should be for their age. The academy is designed to bring players up to the level where they should be.
Chad said the success that he and Brandi have had all began with their grandparents.
"Their support is unmatched," he said. "They're part of the reason why we had success. I think the support they bring and the love they bring is great. They're as much a part of the success as we are. Plus they make good breakfast in the morning."
When the effort to bring this academy to the area began several months ago, Chad said his grandfather "was out of the gates" in helping to make sure it happened.
About the Edmonds complex, Chad said, "It's fantastic. For the community to support something like this... I think it's awesome. I think kids deserve this. You can't get this type of space in a big city. It's great."
For more information on the academy, contact Chad at (408) 375-0489 or email@example.com. More information can also be found at www.chastainsocceracademy.com. Online registration will be available soon.