It's going to be a busy week for Rachael and Megan Rapinoe, as the soccer-playing sisters will hold their Rapinoe Soccer Camps in California and Texas in an effort to reach and inspire youth from Sept. 14-20.
The camps don't just carry their name: The Rapinoe sisters are hands-on at their camps. Every attendee gets quality instruction directly from Megan and Rachael. They wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's a cool, unique experience from the camp philosophy," Megan told Outsports via phone. "There's a lot of access. It's an intimate environment. On the one sense, kids can get lots of great raining and coaching, but also it's awesome for kids to have access to women's national team players. They don't get that every day."
The camp focuses less on big-picture tactics and more on teaching skills to the youth. The focus of the one- or two-day camps is ball skills, dribbling the ball while looking up, and generally being comfortable with the ball at the player's feet.
They also take time toward the end of the camp to answer whatever questions the attendees might throw at them. For Megan, it's her chance to share with the kids the importance of sport and what soccer has meant to her life.
The sisters -- both of whom are out lesbians -- know their sexual orientation can come up. Megan said they always have gay attendees; Sometimes those youth have reached out in one-on-one conversations or through a note passed to the sisters.
"They know they can come talk to us and that they have someone they can look up to," Megan said. "It's so cool to know they have someone to look up to. Maybe they want to be a pro soccer player, or even if they don't, they have someone out there who's like them."
Megan has seen a rise in interest for soccer just since starting the camp in 2011. While interest in the sport has ebbed and flowed in the United States, Megan thinks it's now here to stay.
"I think it's on the rise for good," she said. "You see the sustainability for the MLS, the men's team qualifying for the World Cup, the success of the women's national team, the accessibility to be a part of the sport, NBC airing the Premier League. It all comes from an interest for the sport. Next year, you're going to just see it grow with the World Cup for the men."
If a youth in your life is interested in joining one of the upcoming camps, you'd better hurry. Each camp has 50 to 100 attendees, and there are only a few spots left. The camp schedule for the next week:
Sept. 14: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Sept. 15: Redding, Calif.
Sept. 17-18: Arlington, Texas
Sept. 19-20: Frisco, Texas
For more information, visit the Rapinoe Soccer Camps Web site.