BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Bakersfield has a deep soccer history. Bakersfield native Ricardo Gutierrez grew up in the area and played for both Foothill High School and Taft College. That experience led him to Alburtus Magnus College and on into coaching soccer at the University of California at Berkeley.
Now, Gutierrez is trying to make the path to play in college easier for those following in his footsteps.
"ID Camps are everywhere. I mean, I get invited to ID Camps all the time in the north, south, all over the country. Bakersfield didn't really have any, so it's just one of those things where, you know, if we can provide that service and help and add to it, I think that's an opportunity for the whole city, to be honest," said Gutierrez.
The ID Camp is a 2-day event happening Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, starting at 9:00 am at the Kaiser Soccer Complex. On Sunday, there will be a college showcase game. To find out more, visit the Bakersfield ID Camp website.
"If we continue to do it, we can continue to invite kids," said Gutierrez. "Hopefully, we have good turnouts and we can continue to pump college coaches into the area to help promote our kids."
Gutierrez is at the camp representing Cal Berkeley, where he is an assistant coach, but he wanted youth in the Bakersfield area to get a fair chance with other schools, ranging from Division I and II, plus junior college.
"Way more fun when you get coaches that really want to be here and understand the value of it and they're really intrigued by it," said Gutierrez. "So I'm really excited about that. That's the best I could do for them. Just put them in front and let them do their thing."
Gutierrez says he hopes this can become an annual camp where he can give back to his community and help local kids play at the next level.
"I hope that there are players out there who're listening to me, that are maybe skeptical and haven't signed up, to sign up and go because this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said Gutierrez. "If we could do it once a year? I'll try, but I can't guarantee it."
“I hope that there are players out there, who're listening to me that are maybe skeptical and haven't signed up to sign up and go because this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. If we could do it once a year. I'll try but I can't guarantee it.”