By Lee Davis
If you’re looking for someone who is living their dream, former Oak Mountain soccer star Chandler Hoffman is a good choice. Hoffman, a former Over The Mountain Journal Athlete of the Year, earned all-state honors as an Eagle before moving on to play at UCLA. After being named to All-American and all-conference teams as a Bruin, Hoffman was taken by the Philadelphia Union in the first round of the Major League Soccer Draft. A year later Hoffman was traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy, where he led the team to the MLS Cup, which is the league’s version of the Super Bowl. Hoffman currently plays for the Houston Dynamo.
“I’ve been very blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love,” Hoffman said in a recent interview.
And now Hoffman is giving back to the community where it all began for him. He’s hosting a series of camps for young soccer players at SportsBlast in mid-December. The boys camp for ages 8-16 will be held Dec. 21 from 9-11 a.m. The girls camp will be the next day at the same time. Cost for the camp is $50 per entrant.
Hoffman said interest in soccer has grown leaps and bounds since he was playing at the youth level in the 1990s.
“It’s growing massively not just as far as kids playing the game but also as a spectator sport,” he said. “When major events have been played in Birmingham, they’ve drawn some of the most views of any city in the country. That says a lot about how far it has come.”
While Hoffman said the main goal for the camps is for the participants to have fun, he hopes they draw some inspiration, as well.
“The fact that I was the first player from Alabama to play at UCLA and that I was fortunate enough to be able to play at the professional level will hopefully show the kids that, if they are willing to work hard at something, their dreams can come true,” he said.
Actor Caleb Castille, who was in the movie “Woodlawn,” and former Miss Alabama Chandler Champion also will speak to the campers. For more information about the camp, go to www.ChandlerHoffman.com.