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Air Force Sports encourages Airmen to participate in sports programs year-round

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --  

All-Air Force Men’s Soccer trials and camp is currently taking place at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland until May 6, but Airmen have the opportunity to compete in 14 other Air Force Sports year-round.

Active duty, Reservists and Guardsmen are eligible to apply to participate in Air Force Sports by fi lling out an Air Force Form 303 detailing their experience in the sport they choose to compete in and turning them in to the Air Force Sports Office, located here. The applications are then forwarded to the coach of each sport for camp invitation consideration.

The opportunity to represent the Air Force by competing against the other military ser- vices best athletes is why Tech. Sgt. Marcus Darnell, Air Force Sports manager, encourages Airmen to apply to participate.

"You get the opportunity to take time off from work to travel, compete at a high level and do something you love to do," he said. "You can’t find that anywhere else." Stephen Brown, Air Force Sports chief, shared those sentiments. "You get to excel at the highest level possible by playing your passion," he said. "Air Force Sports helps build team spirit and leadership skills."

The number of Airmen invited to each training camp varies, Darnell said, citing All-Air Force Men’s Soccer as the sport that draws the most applicants with 36. While there are camps year-round, the upcoming sport camps for 2016 that Airmen can apply for are:

• Women’s Basketball: June 14-July 1 at JBSA-Lackland

• Men’s Basketball: Oct. 13-30 at JBSA- Lackland

• Golf: Aug. 13-18 at Fort Jackson, S.C.

• Rugby: Aug. 9-14 at Glendale, Colo.

• Women’s Softball: Sept. 1-17 at JBSA- Randolph

• Men’s Softball: Sept. 1-17 at JBSA- Lackland

• The date and location is undetermined for tennis, Armed Forces marathon and Air Force marathon.

The objective is to discover the best available talent for spots on Air Force teams.

"Coaches observe players competing against each other to see who the better athlete is," he said. "Air Force Sports is special because above average military athletes get to be recognized."

To be considered for a camp invitation, Darnell encourages athletes to compete outside of their local area against the "best of the best athletes" and also to seek mentorship from Airmen who have Air Force Sports experience because "they are a good learning source to get you where you want to be."

"Find national tournaments to attend and get your name out there," Darnell said. "Coaches could recognize your name when it’s time for you to apply to participate in that sport. You have to step up from base intramural sports."

Coaches generally send e-mails to released athletes stating why they didn’t make the team and what they need to improve on to better their chances of making it next time, Darnell said.

"There are some avenues for players to improve and make the team," he said. "We have seen some players, who don’t make a team one year, improve themselves and make it the next year. If they truly want to make an Air Force Sports team then they will put in the effort to make it."

The deadlines to apply for the upcoming camps are Sept. 27 for men’s basketball, June 24 for rugby, June 28 for golf, July 15 for ten- nis, May 9 for Armed Forces marathon, and July 18 for both men and women’s softball.

Air Force form 303 can be downloaded at https://www.myairforcelife.com/sports/NewAFForm303_Fillable.pdf. For more details, visit http://www.myairforcelife.com/sports.