The college athletic recruitment process can be very stressful, and it was just that for me. The process can be years in the making, and involves so many different components. For me, everything began around age five when I started playing soccer. I had no clue whether or not I would want to play soccer in college. However, it was not too much later that I set the goal of becoming a college athlete.
Fast forward to middle school, when I joined a club soccer team, Bethesda Soccer Academy. Along with being expensive, club soccer was extremely time consuming.
I started my college recruitment process in ninth grade, when my team started to attend college showcases. These showcases would be packed with skilled players, and sidelines filled with college coaches. I found it to be stressful playing in front of a bunch of college coaches, trying to impress them, while not knowing whether the coaches were watching me or other players.
In order to get coaches to come to games and tournaments, I would email the entire coaching staff individually, asking them to come watch me play. By starting this process in ninth grade, I had many coaches to email prior to tournaments. As time went on, my list shortened, and my search narrowed down. These emails took a good amount of time, and were a headache to send, but they sure paid off for me.
While playing with Bethesda, I had good exposure to Division I schools. I went very far in the recruitment process with the University of Delaware, Towson University, and James Madison University during ninth and tenth grades.
I attended several camps at the three schools, and went on overnights with players. I also went on individual tours with the head coaches.
At Delaware, I was one of two goalies who they were deciding on, and unfortunately, they chose the girl who was six feet tall, compared to my five foot seven height at that time. With Towson, the coaching staff just did not give me a good vibe, even though I gelled well with the players. As for James Madison, I did not like the way that the program was run, so I decided to give up on trying to play there after attending the camp.
After exhausting these three opportunities, I chose to pursue Division III soccer because I still wanted to play soccer in college. I decided that my academic experience in college was more important than my playing soccer, so I targeted schools that had my intended major (occupational therapy) as well as a strong soccer program.
Fast forward to November of my junior year, when I joined a new club team. This team’s name was Olney Girls 99. After a few months of being on this team, we travelled to Richmond to play in the Jefferson Cup Girls Showcase.
I emailed several schools that I had interest in for both academics and soccer. Several coaches came to watch me play, but the most exciting news was that an assistant coach from Ithaca College, where I will be attending next year, noticed me at the tournament. She was watching from the sidelines while I was participating in a goalkeeper showcase.
A few days after I got home from the tournament, I received an email from the coach, stating that she was pleased with the way I played, and that I would be a good fit for their program. A few weeks later, my mom and I drove to Ithaca for a soccer clinic. I enjoyed every moment while I was playing, walking around campus, and talking with the players and the coaches.
I knew things were looking positive when the head coach asked me to send her my unofficial transcript and class schedule for my senior year. A few weeks later, she got back to me with great news, and told me that I should be able to get admitted to the school and that I would be a member of the soccer team. Right before Thanksgiving I received my acceptance letter, and then committed to the coach that I was thrilled to be a part of her team.
If it were not for the experiences I had with Delaware, Towson, and James Madison, than I most likely would not be attending Ithaca next year in the occupational therapy B.S/M.S. program and playing on the women’s soccer team. At some times, this process was painful, but it sure does feel good now to know that I will be attending school next year where I can play soccer collegiately, as well as majoring in occupational therapy. I have learned that hard work and dedication pay off in the long run, and are worth the literal blood, sweat, and tears.
Senior Sports Editor