Soccer Star Xavi Hernandez Brings His Camp to Lake Myrtle Sports Park in Auburndale
By Rick Brown
Two months after renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong came to Polk County to participate in — and win — the Ironman Florida 70.3 event, one of the world’s best soccer players is coming to the county.
Xavi Hernandez, a midfielder for FC Barcelona and member of on the Spanish national team, is bringing his Campus Xavi World Tour soccer camp to the Lake Myrtle Sports Park in Auburndale in July.
Hernandez, considered one of the best soccer players in Spain’s history, has held a camp for the past 13 years, but it has always been in Spain. This is the first year he has decided to bring his camp abroad.
“This is huge,” said Mark Jackson, director for Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. “This is a big deal for anyone in the U.S. who loves soccer and plays soccer. He is one of the most highly recognized soccer players in the world.”
Jackson said a lot of factors went in to Lake Myrtle landing the camp. First, Hernandez liked that Florida has a large Hispanic population. Another factor included having the Florida Youth Soccer Association headquartered there with access to more than 100,000 soccer-playing kids.
“Xavi has always been a very technical soccer player,” Jackson said. “But during his time, he started gaining an interest in working with kids.
“This is a chance to build up soccer’s reputation not only here in Polk County,” Jackson said, “but this is a chance to grow the sport throughout the state of Florida.”
The camp is scheduled to go from July 10-14 and July 15-19. There could also be a third week but that has not been confirmed yet.
The cost of the camp is $2,000 for a week and is limited to the first 300 kids per week who register. Accommodations are not included in the price, but according to the camp website, Sports Marketing is putting together special packages for families and children.
“It’s a little pricey,” Jackson admitted. “But for people who want to be working with one of the best in the world, it’s going to be a blessing.”
Exposure to the community and county will be the immediate benefit for Polk County. Jackson said the economic impact for the country should be at least $1.5 million. And if things go as planned, it could become an annual event.
“This is our hope,” he said. “When you venture outside your own bailiwick, it’s always a bit unnerving. It is our objective, after we have established a reputation and have shown them our hospitality and the things to do outside of the camp, like Legoland, it will benefit us all.”
For more information on the camp, email@example.com, call Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing at 863-551-4737 or vist campusxavi.com or centralfloridasports.com.