Millersville University '04 - Men's Soccer
I have experienced college athletics from several different perspectives. The high school senior trying to find the best fit, the collegiate athlete experiencing things first hand, and now I am a college coach. Of course with "hinds sight always being 20/20" I would love to do it all again but in the opposite order. Going into my college experience knowing what I know now would have made some big differences in my story. That is not to say I did not enjoy myself, or have any regrets with the route I chose.
I graduated high school with several options, I could go to a mid-level Division I school and play soccer which was something I always wanted to do, however I was also being recruited at the Division II and III levels for basketball and lacrosse. I knew for a long time that soccer was what I wanted to pursue in college, so that decision wasn't the hard part, although putting down the basketball for good after high school did prove to be difficult. The hard part as it is for most high school seniors was choosing the school that was best for me.
Coming from the Philadelphia area, I wanted to stay relatively close to home. In the beginning I was talking to St. Joe's University, Villanova University, Drexel University, Lasalle University, and University of Delaware. As time went on I added some schools and dropped some others. My final selection came down to University of Delaware and Villanova University, both of which are Division I. Also, some Division II schools including West Chester University, East Stroudsburg University, and Millersville University. I had given some serious thought to two D-III schools in Virginia, but decided it was too far from home for me.
I went on my five official visits and narrowed the selection down even more. I ended up attending Millersville University in Lancaster County. It was a big change from my home town, and I went through a really tough adjustment period my first semester. I was looking at transferring about mid-way through the season when I wasn't starting and wasn't particularly happy with my playing time. However, I decided to give it another shot and stick it out and see what became of it and I was really glad I did. The campus was pretty big, and very nice. The school had about 8,000 students and there were always things to do, and good people to hang out with. While playing Division II lacked a lot of the perks and glamour of playing Division, the level was still remarkably high. I would say with the exception of my first year, I had an amazing experience playing at Millersville University, and it was because of the great teammates I had along the way.
Go on an overnight visit to whatever school you want to go to before you enroll! Whether you are looking to play sports, or just looking for a good education, the most important part of finding the right school for you, is finding a place where you can see yourself for the next 4-5 years of your life. Finding a place where you can fit in and feel at home is very important for your happiness.
Make sure you get a good impression from the coach of your particular school. Unfortunately there are a lot of players out there who do not like their coaches much. Many of them are justified in doing so. If you get a chance to talk to the players about the coach, do so! Learn as much as you can, you will find that a lot of the coaches out there are past their time, or really just don't know much about the game. Finding a school where you can respect the coach is important.
Choose a good academic fit. At the end of the day most of us probably aren't going pro in our sports. So chose a school that is going to accommodate your academic needs, because the bigger picture is more important in the long run than anything!
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