Corey Hooper has played soccer throughout most of his life.
Hooper played collegiately for the Master’s College and professionally for Dallas Sidekicks and won a national championship with his team in 1993.
Hooper has been a Tyler resident for 14 years, his love for soccer is what incited him to create Next Level Soccer. A training facility where athletes and anyone who loves soccer can train and play.
“Next Level Soccer opened a year ago in June and is a place where we hold summer camps and training for anyone who wants to practice alone or with a team, they can come and do it here,” Hooper said.
There are roughly 15 to 20 campers attending the summer camps that are held June through August.
Campers can choose from morning camps or afternoon, with mornings starting at 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“I always wanted to have my own soccer facility for children, because soccer is a passion of mine and I want to inspire children and help them built their character,” Hooper said.
The facility is not focused solely on children. High school and college soccer players have trained at Next Level Soccer and anyone is more than welcome to do so too.
Next Level Soccer is also known for using training techniques that are fairly new for the soccer world - a TOCA soccer-training machine, which is a machine that shoots smaller-sized soccer balls for players to kick.
The TOCA machine can be used with a smartphone or tablet that lets the player know how many reps they have done, how many steps they have taken and what their heart rate is.
“The TOCA machines help kids adjust to either take a shot or make a pass, it is very helpful for both team training and individual instruction,” Hooper said.
The facility also does indoor futsal leagues, which is a sport that is a derivative of soccer and played with five-man teams on a basketball style court with no walls and a smaller, low-bouncing ball.
Next Level Soccer is associated with Texas East Gymnastics.
Men and women coaches work at this facility and train but children are the focus during the summer season.
Carter Lackey is a manager and coach at Next Level Soccer as well as a coach at Grace Community School.
“I have always loved soccer and always tried to find jobs that had something to do with it and now that I do, it’s a blessing and a dream come true,” Lackey said.
Kerrigan Rozelle, 8, enjoyed an Oreo after playing a scrimmage with her teammates.
“My favorite part about the camp is playing games and learning new stuff and eating my snack,” Rozelle said.
Cameron Taylor, 9, played along Rozelle as well and said his favorite sport is soccer.
“I am not very good and I have never made a goal in my life but I think I will get better,” Taylor said.
For Mateo Lopez, 8, Lionel Messi is his favorite soccer player and for Drew Bighorse, 7, soccer is not as hard for him.
“I love playing scrimmage, I have made too many goals in my life, I made six earlier,” Bighorse said.
For both Lackey and Hooper the best part about summer camps is getting to know the children and motivating them.
“When I was younger I used to look up to my coaches and remembered everything they would say,” Lackey said.
“Now that I am on the opposite end, it feels great to be able to help them and inspire them, because they inspire me,” Lackey said.