University of Delaware 06 - Womens Soccer
Playing soccer in college had been a goal for me ever since I joined the EPYSA Olympic Development Program team when I was in middle school. After picking up lacrosse in 8th grade, lacrosse seemed to be another viable option for playing a sport in college but by sophomore year I knew soccer was where I wanted to focus my attention. Soccer was my passion and the obvious choice so once that decision was made the center of attention went to competing in as many soccer tournaments in front of college coaches as possible.
After numerous tournaments and reading one huge guide to colleges book, I created a list of potential schools. I looked into schools that had good academic reputations but also a womens soccer team that was in the middle of the pack at the D-1 level. I put together a packet for coaches which included my resume and a video and waited to hear back. I received a few calls from schools I had sent information to, as well as, additional schools who had seen me play in tournaments over the past year or so. A few of the schools I was not interested in at all but others seemed worth looking into based on my criteria for a college.
I received information from San Diego State and being a surfer, thought it would be a fantastic place to go, however, they had never seen me play and I was hoping to receive a scholarship. Other schools I spoke to were Boston College, Boston University, University of Georgia and Georgetown. The one thing I kept in the back of my mind was that I was not going anywhere after college with soccer so I just wanted to go to a school that really wanted me for their program.
One summer day I received a call from Scott Grzenda at the University of Delaware. I dont know exactly why, but I never even looked into the school. I didnt think that it would be a school I would be thrilled at but my parents began educating me on the school and I soon found out it had a lot to offer and had a great academic reputation, which I was totally unaware of at the time.
Another day I received a call from St. Joes University and decided although the school is in my backyard (I went to Episcopal Academy which is right across the street), it might be worth looking into especially because I had heard great things about the coach and team and knew they had a great marketing program which was what I wanted to major in.
After having additional conversations with coaches from many schools I decided to take two official visits, one to St. Joes and another to University of Delaware. I only wanted to visit a school I was thoroughly interested in and those two schools seemed like the best fit for me. Interestingly enough I learned that the St. Joes University coach had gone to University of Delaware and that both schools were very similar in their programs and team style. A huge rivalry exists between the teams as coaches from both sides have lost players to the other school.
I first visited St. Joes University and had a fantastic time. The team was great as was the coach but I wasnt a fan of turf and the size of the school was smaller than what I wanted. On the up-side, it was close to home so my parents could come to games and at the time, I had a boyfriend in the area which was something that was in the back of my mind.
I had a wonderful visit to St. Joes University but still had a visit to University of Delaware to meet the coach, team and see the school. As soon as I walked onto the campus, I was amazed at how beautiful it was and immediately knew that if I liked the team, I wanted to go. Scott, the head coach, was great and I immediately got the impression that although soccer and academics were top priorities, he wanted the girls to have a life outside of soccer and school - which was the perfect balance I was looking for. When I met the team I immediately got the feeling it was the right place for me and the team was fantastic. The best part was that they seemed so close. Not only were they tight on the field but they were off the field as well. They were good friends with so many teams on campus such as the Mens Lacrosse, Soccer, Basketball, and Football teams, as well as, the Womens Lacrosse, Field Hockey, and Volleyball teams. It was like they had an athlete sorority/frat system of their own.
After coming back from University of Delaware I knew that it was a great fit and a scholarship sealed the deal. The last thing to evaluate before I committed was what life would be like without soccer. Knowing what the campus was like, and meeting some people who had loved the school who did not play for a sports team, I knew I could be happy there even if for some reason I could not play soccer anymore.
I hope this gives a little insight into my experience and the process I went through to end up at the University of Delaware playing Womens Soccer. Never once do I regret going to the school and my best friends today are from that soccer team.
Listen to your parents and take into account their thoughts and ideas. They know more than you think and have been there before you. And who knows, you might be surprised with the outcome of a decision because of their recommendation.
Never go to a school because of a boyfriend or girlfriend. First and formost, it may not work out, but even more importantly, you need to go to a school that will offer you the best experience and help you grow as a person. There are not many times it's ok to be selfish but this is one of them - so take it.
Pick a school with a team that you feel comfortable with. You will be seeing these girls or guys everyday and they will be the only ones that really know what you are going through juggling school, sports and a social life. To give you some insight on how close our team was one of the girls on my team got married in November and there were 12 of us there at the wedding.
Pick a school you will be happy at without your sport. You may not think about it now, since all you can think about is playing your favorite sport in college, but things change. At the University of Delaware, there had been a few players who decided not to play anymore but they definitely still had a fantastic experience at school. Make sure you would be able to do the same.
There are so many wonderful schools with amazing programs out there. You'll find some schools with great athletic programs and others with great academic programs, but it is important to find the right balance for you. Take in any and all information you can get from friends and family, but remember that it is your decision to make in the end. You are the one going to the school - not your friends, family or anyone else - so pick the right school for you.
Good luck in your search for your perfect school!
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