I was recruited to numerous schools to play soccer, but the hardest option was picking which one. I have played soccer all my life and knew this was definitely the path I wanted to pursue in college. I had plenty of experience, playing varsity for four years in high school and also playing club ball with one of the most prestigious clubs in the nation.
Even with the honors that I received in high school, I didn't get many coaches knocking down my door to have me. Instead, I attended different showcases to, well, showcase my talents. It is there that recruiters were able to see me play and I would later get to talk to them after the game and determine their interest.
I started to get letters from all types of schools, D-III, D-II, and D-, but I was really looking for a school that would fit my needs both academically and athletically. I was like any other kid out there, confused, and just wanting to find something. All I can say is don't settle for anything. I had offers from West Chester University, Rutgers University, Quinnipiac University, and Delaware University. These were the few, of many schools, where the head coach either called me or came to a couple games to see me play.
I then started to play the field; I wanted to see exactly what the offers were and then weigh it on a scale to see if the shoe fit so to speak. For me, Rutgers and Quinnipiac became the top two schools real quick and I focused from there. Rutgers had an amazing soccer program, but the location wasn't ideal for me. I then visited Quinnipiac; it was a real small school, tucked away in the mountains of Connecticut. The campus was really nice, it was D-I (known more for ice hockey than soccer), and they had the academic program I was looking for. The coach was able to throw some scholarship money my way, and that was it, I decided to attend Quinnipiac.
Don't settle, do your research and really take the time to see schools before making a decision.
Don't sell yourself short - the difference between high school sports and college sports is like the difference between an 8th grade mixer and a senior prom.
The recruiting process began rather suddenly for me. I got my first letter my sophomore year when I played both JV and Varsity. I got a few more letters during the offseason from other programs and fall of my junior season they started coming in about 10-15 letters a day.
Football is a little different than other sports because high school football is where it all happens there is no club or AAU teams that help you in recruiting, just camps at different schools where you can showcase your abilities. Although I never went to this type of camp, I recommend attending if you're serious about going to one of the schools. It's a good way to see how you match up with others and for the coaching staff to take a look at you in person as well as get your name out there.
A few things to consider when you're being recruited, regardless of what sport, is that you're selling yourself just as much as the recruiter is selling the school. Be respectful and humble to all recruiters regardless of your interest level in their school. If someone takes the time to talk to you about playing for them, you should at least take the time to hear them out.
I was injured during my senior year which heavily hurt me being recruited by big time D-I schools. However, I was still able to get a scholarship because I listened to smaller schools even though I never thought I'd end up at one (which I did). There is no such thing as "that will never happen to me" because whatever "that" is CAN happen. So you want to give yourself options and NEVER burn a bridge unless you know for sure that it is not the school for you. College sports are a business and recruiters will tell you everything you want to hear, but until you sign a letter of intent it is all just talk. Recruiters have no loyalty to you until they offer you a scholarship and/or you commit and sign that letter of intent. Therefore you have to lookout for yourself and not get too caught up in your own hype.
- Have fun with it. Go on your visits and enjoy being celebrated for your hard work.
- Trust and accept advice ONLY from people you already know and trust - like your family and coaches because they are more likely to have your best interest at heart
- Choose a school AND an athletic program, not just an athletic program. Most likely you're not going to go pro in whatever sport you're being recruited to play so you need to make sure you go to a school that meets your academic desires and career aspirations as well (and if you don't have academic desires or career aspirations you may want to give it some thought).
- Become knowledgeable about your choices/considerations. If you're interested in a school do some research and background checking about it on your own. Don't just accept what the recruiter gives and tells you.
- Continue to work hard. You're in this situation because of your hard work at what you do, so don't slack now just because you're being recruited.
- Stay out of trouble. There is no worse label to obtain during recruiting or any time in your life for that matter as a person who has "character problems" which basically means you're probably more of a risk than you're worth. If there's one thing you have absolute control over it's showcasing the fact that you're a good person and not a troublemaker. This will show that you would do a good job representing their school. This factor may be the thing that gives you the edge over someone else that they're recruiting.
I had known for a long time I wanted to play softball at the next levelI just wasnt sure what type of school I wanted to attend. My recruiting experience and how I ended up making my decision was atypical, but if I could go back and do it all over again, Id be more than happy for things to work out the way they did.
I played up a year for almost as long as I had been playing softball. It was great until all of my teammates went on to college and I was left behind for one more summer. Many of them, and other girls I had become friends with from playing against over the years, went on to play ball at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. I knew they had a strong program and the university was only a couple hours away from my home town of St. Louis. When July 1 prior to my senior year rolled around and they expressed interest in signing me, it seemed like a logical option and quickly became the option in which I invested the most interest. In retrospect, I believe this hindered my desire to seek out other opportunities and develop other options.
While I was mostly hoping things would work out with SIUC, I half-heartedly continued exploring my optionsMissouri State University, Washington University and Loyola University Chicago were the leading candidates. I went on a visit to Missouri State sometime near the beginning of my senior year and didnt get a strong impression one way or the other. Washington University seemed like a good choice because of the high academic standard, but because they are Division III they couldnt offer any amount of athletic scholarship and the tuition was too high.
Things got interesting when it came time to schedule a visit to Loyola. Since high school softball in Missouri is played in the fall and my team was heavily favored to make it back to the state playoffs, I explained to the coach I would only be able to visit the weekend she proposed if my team was knocked out of the playoffs. She said that was okay but there was another recruit coming to visit and the scholarship offer would go to the first person that accepted it.
Fearing that the other recruit would take the position on the team before I could even visit, I had to make one of the most important decisions of my life based on a lot of unknowns. I talked things over with my parentsthings didnt seem to be working out with SIUC and the offer from Loyola was too good to pass up. I called one of my long-time teammates from summer ball who signed with Loyola the previous year, asked her a ton of questions, and trusted the answers she gave me. Shortly thereafter, I signed a letter of intent to play for Loyola University Chicago without seeing the campus (other than online) or meeting the team.
I wouldnt advise making your decision without doing either of those things. Luckily, it worked out for me despite two coaching changes and learning that there never was another recruit that was being considered for the spot. I had the opportunity to play with amazing teammates, enjoyed the community and academic challenge Loyola provided, and fell in love with the city of Chicago.
I would suggest being as proactive as possible in the college search. Read as much as you possible early on in the process to get an idea of what youre looking for in a prospective school and what you hope to get out of your student-athlete experience. Explore several options in case things dont work out with your first choice. Take the initiative to send videos, write letters, make phone calls and return questionnaires yourselfit reflects positively on you as being responsible, mature and prepared to make the transition into college life. Make your decision based on the entire package; not just the athletic program. Dont take this opportunity for granted, having the privilege to play sports in college was one of the best experiences of my life. Most of all, good luck to you on your journey!
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.