US soccer superstar headlines Grand Rapids FC camp


Grand Rapids FC is a minor league soccer team that plays its home games at Houseman Field. Courtesy Thinkstock

A U.S. soccer legend is set to host a camp in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Football Club, or GRFC, said last week that it will host a three-day summer youth soccer camp with HELM Elite Soccer, a group led by former U.S. National Soccer Team players Landon Donovan, Brian Ching and Stuart Holden.

The camp, designed for 10-18-year-old players, will be held in July at MVP Fieldhouse in Cascade.

Donovan is the all-time leader in goals and assists for the U.S. national team and Major League Soccer.

“We couldn’t be more excited that Landon, Brian and Stu are coming to put on a camp here in Grand Rapids,” said Matt Roberts, president, GRFC. “To be chosen as a host city for one of HELM Elite’s camps is truly an honor. It is a testament to the growth of the game here in West Michigan and our fans who made it clear to HELM that this is a great market to be in.

Roberts added that GRFC will be "putting on a few events that weekend" to raise money for charities around the city, so the club "can continue to give back to the community that supports us.”

HELM Elite Soccer will also spend time in Grand Rapids with GRFC staff and players and help promote the team and raise money for local charities.

During GRFC’s first season this summer, a social media campaign caught the attention of HELM.

“When Brian, Stu and I launched HELM soccer back in May 2015, we instantly heard from GRFC in the Twittersphere,” Donovan said. “The demand and excitement was amazing, so it was a no-brainer to bring HELM to Grand Rapids.”

Camp registration information will eventually be posted at HELM's website.

Next year, GRFC moves up from a league it founded, the Great Lakes Premier League, to the National Premier Soccer League, a fourth-tier team in the U.S. soccer pyramid. 

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