Women’s College Seminar
The Coaches’ Panel
With a panel moderated by Kate Samsot, DC Stoddert Technical Director, area coaches present included: Dave Bucciero, Women’s Coach at American University (D1), Sarah Barnes, Women’s Coach at George Washington University (D1), Ashly Kennedy, Assistant Women’s Coach, George Mason University (D1), and Kelly Wakeman, Women’s Coach at Montgomery College—Rockville (CC). Jenny Akman, former DC Stoddert player, provided a glance at the college progress of one of our graduates. All of our area coaches were former players with extensive coaching experience at the club and collegiate levels.
Barnes opened the Seminar with a player’s list of priorities when thinking about colleges: (1) the school’s academics, (2) the school environment, (3) extra-curricular activities including the soccer program, and (4) finances. She stressed that planning should begin in the player’s junior year.
As all the panelist stressed, players should “be proactive” in their search for “the right school, and join the NCAA Clearing House.” Bucciero also emphasized “do it now and don’t wait until your senior year.” Kennedy emphasized the “recruiting process, visiting your chosen schools, and performing in tournaments. Wakeman talked about the community college as an option, with later decisions, and as with all the panelist, emphasized GPAs, SATs,
essays, honors courses, and having a varied academic background. “Academics first,” she said, “then soccer.” Wakeman also pointed to the possibility of transferring to a four-year college from the community college with an associate degree. Akman talked about being in DC Stoddert, attending Guilford
College in North Carolina, captaining the team, and then Northwestern University where she obtain a doctorate in physical therapy.
We then showed the coaches and the audience a four-minute player video which drew some good responses for its brevity and identification of the player, although the coaches emphasized seeing the players in person. They pointed out that each D1 school has a number of full-ride scholarships, although most schools divide them among the players, with few players on full scholarships. The coaches emphasized two major criteria--good grades and helping the team to win. Good grades refer to SATs of 1,400 and GPAs of 4.0. The coaches also indicated that players should develop good relations with the coach.
We also advised the student-athletes to go to the NCAA’s College Bound Student-Athlete Guide athttp://www.ncaapublications.com/p-3931-2009-2010-guide-for-the-college-bound-student-athlete-pack-of-25.aspx. The coaches
advised both parents and players to understand the NCAA restrictions on active recruiting of athletes, as one pointed out: “I can’t call you back.” Barnes said, “Figure out where soccer fits into your college aspirations,” suggesting that some players might want to join college “club teams” or play “intramural.” “Remember,” as Bucciero said, “There’s more to college than just soccer,” indicating that American University holds both spring and summer ID Camps.
Panelists also suggested to the audience that they look at various forms of financial aid, including the DC Government’s offer of $10,000 for all residents who go to a public college, the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, Pell Grants, and “Work-Study Programs.” And Kennedy talked about coaches’ use of “ID Camps” and establishing personal relationships with the coaches.
ð There is a school with a soccer team for everyone but do your homework and be realistic.
q Coaches look at Regional and ODP players, top travel players, and others brought to their attention through
Tournaments, league games, and ID Camps.
q E-mail coaches regularly to let them know you are interested, and tell them your schedule. Forward links to your You-Tube clips but be careful with your sound bites!
Start looking in your Sophomore year and register with the NCAA Clearinghouse
. Women’s teams make recruit decisions further ahead than men’s teams.
q Visit the campuses
q Relate to the Coach
q Relate to the Players
q Check out the Dorms/Meal Facilities
q Talk to Alumni
q Know the “campus environment”
q Understand “campus life,”
q Check the college’s “retention rate”
q Number of players on the roster
q Watch games/practices to see if they “fit into the system”
q Ask the coach: “Where do you see me fitting in over the next few years?”
q Don’t overlook the military academies.
q If producing a video, keep it brief, indicate number, position, and date of graduation.
q When writing or calling, know the coach’s name.
The coaches emphasized to the parents and players that “you should try everything as there is obviously no one way into the door.” Ask yourself two key questions: (1) “Could I get into this University/College?” and (2) “If the school is a good fit, can I play at this level?” Starting the process in the player’s sophomore year, be persistent, go to the school’s camps, send along videos, and communicate with the coaches via e-mail.
The Men’s Coaches’ Panel
The Men’s College Seminar panel, moderated by Len Oliver, included: Todd West, Men’s Coach at American University (D1), Craig Jones, Men’s Coach at George Washington University (D1), Greg Andrulis, Men’s Coach, George Mason University (D1), Matt Thompson, Men’s Coach at the University of the District of Columbia (DII), and Travis Beauchamp, Men’s Coach at Catholic University of America (DIII). Former DC Stoddert player, Hampton Mitchell, provided a glance at the college recruiting process as he has been accepted at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia after attending the College’s camps. All of our panel coaches were former players with extensive coaching experience at the club, pro, and collegiate levels.
Panel Opening Remarks
Andrulis, former Coach, Coach, Columbus Crew of MLS, kicked off the evening’s proceedings by talking about finding the “college for you where you can continue playing soccer in the right place.” He noted that there are 190 DI schools, that George Mason has over 150 majors, including a new major in “Bio-Terrorism” in keep up with the times. Beauchamp chimed in with the fact that there are over 400 DIII schools. Catholic University has 180 majors, including a nationally-recognized major in architecture. “DIII schools,” according to Beauchamp, “do not offer ‘Athletic Aid’ but we want student athletes.”
West wanted the student-athletes to “enforce the process,” choosing a school “where you would be happy even if you broke your leg and couldn’t play soccer.” “American University,” said West, “ranks in the ‘Top 20’ liberal arts schools in the country with many internship possibilities.” West is looking for players with a distinct “style of play,” and advised that AU offers 9.9 full scholarship money every year, usually divided among some 15-20 players.
Thompson, representing the only DII school on the panel, wanted to see the players at tournaments. “We have 8,000 students at UDC,” said Thompson, with a new “turf” field coming this summer, new locker rooms, and a solid education in the City. “We look for players with at least 3.0 GPAs and high SATS,” he added.
Craig Jones, former DC Stoddert Travel Coach and Age-Group Director, relatively new to college head coaching, emphasized “good academics, a compatible style of play on the field, and a ‘pro-active’ approach to the college process,”
Meeting College Deadlines
Andrulis pointed out that colleges have different deadlines, “so familiarize yourself with each college’s requirements.” For Andrulis, the number one reason athletes are turned down is “that they didn’t get their forms in on time.” He added: “The better your academics, the better your chances to obtain athletic aid.” Beauchamp advised the student athletes “to keep talking to your selected schools—be persistent!”
Finding a College
The coaches emphasized their attendance at tournaments and travel league games, but admitted they seldom went to high school games because of the mixed quality of play in high school. They encouraged the students to attend their camps, especially “ID Camps,” for recognition. As Andrulis pointed out, “See the coach, see the school, see the athletic facilities.”
One alternative to varsity soccer at the collegiate level is the growth of “Club Soccer” at all the universities. Hugo Scheckter, a student at
George Washington University, runs the school’s club program with great success, with the GWU Club Team even traveling to regional and national tournaments.
The Panel also discussed the use of videos to display a player’s prowess at the sport, after seeing a four-minute video of Jack Spiegelman, goalie at Maret School and DC Stoddert’s U19 Metros in the NCSL. Some wanted to see the player “live,” others liked the video’s brevity and display of Spiegelman’s talents in goal. “Videos are good when you are a long way away from a college,” said Beauchamp, who joined the other coaches in wanting to see the players live on the field. Thompson thought videos were especially appropriate for the international student-athletes who apply to UDC.
All of the coaches advised the players to begin the application process in their sophomore and junior years. “One year in advance,” said Andrulis.
For example, coaches are looking for their 2013 freshmen class right now. “And when the players play in a local tournament,” said Beauchamp, “ tell the coaches at your selected schools so they can attend.” Good advice. And remember, NCAA Rules, as West pointed out, forbid coaches from calling you back, so think of using e-mails that the coaches can respond to. Again, good advice.
College Athletic Requirements
Panelists also suggested to the parents and players that they look at various forms of financial aid, including the DC Government’s offer of $10,000 for all residents who go to a public college, the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, Pell Grants, and “Work-Study Programs.”
Wrapping Up; Summarizing the Coaches’ Advice
o There is a school out there with a soccer team for everyone. But do your homework and be realistic.
o E-mail coaches regularly to let them know you are interested, and tell them your schedule. Forward links to your You-Tube clips.
o Visit the campuses. Relate to the Coach. Relate to the Players. Check out the Dorms/Meal Facilities. Talk to Alumni. Get to know the “campus
environment. Understand “campus life,”
o Check the college’s “retention rate.” Be familiar with the number of players on the roster.
o Watch games/practices to see if you “fit into the system.” Ask the coach: “Where do you see me fitting in over the next few years?”
o Don’t overlook the military academies.
o When writing or calling, know the coach’s name.
o Two key questions:
1. “Could I get into this University or College?”
2. “If the school is a good fit, can I play at this level?”
For Additional Information/Letters of Support to Colleges: