Archive for June, 2009

Where are the College Scouts?

Playing collegiate soccer was something I didn’t think would ever be in my future. When I was a young girl playing sports in the front yard with all the neighborhood kids seemed like the most fun. Flash forward several years later and I find myself in a starting position on the High School Varsity team as a freshman. Playing the entire game and receiving awards, it was then when I knew playing soccer in college would be my number one goal. It was up to me to solve the obstacles to be recruited.

Since I was the first child who had these aspirations in the family, there were a lot of unknowns for how I would achieve my dream, Division 1 NCAA full scholarship. I set the goals high because I wanted to go for it all. I had the talent and mindset, I just needed the help.

My first step was to join the number one team in Michigan and become part of a highly competitive club soccer team where I was surrounded by girls who all wanted the same thing I did. We traveled to showcase tournaments, practiced four days a week, drove hours to get to a different state and scarified the standard high school social experiences to make it to a game.

During my junior year, the thought of when I would be offered a scholarship ran through my head daily. When am I going to hear from college coaches? I know I have the talent and grades, where are the coaches? Why am I working so hard and hearing from no one? Without the correct knowledge of the recruiting process, I ignored all of the letters and calls I received from D1, D2, D3 colleges out of state. I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t want those schools for some reason. Senior year arrived and I found myself with nothing.

Luckily, I walked into a great situation and was finally offered a handsome amount of scholarship money to play for a Division 1 school in Michigan. I had achieved my goal and the money my parents paid for tournaments, club teams, trips all over seemed to pay off. Since working at the NCSA, I now use my recruiting story to help educate other aspiring collegiate athletes so they won’t make the same mistake I did!

-Jaclyn Thomas

My Athletes Wanted Story

My recruiting story is different because it’s not my personal story but my daughter’s story. So this is from a parent’s perspective.

I was watching my 12-year old daughter play shortstop for her U14 softball team during one of her tournament games. The entire season, it dawned on me that my daughter was a better athlete than anyone else on the team. And she was playing with girls 2 grade levels ahead of her. Why else would the coach play her at shortstop? Why else would the coach bat her 3rd or 4th in the lineup? So I started thinking maybe this is a way to have my daughter get her education paid for. Then it happened. A sharply hit ground ball hit up the middle by the opposing team’s number 3 hitter. Quick as a flash, my daughter ranges over 5 steps, stretches her glove out, stabs the ball, and, in one motion while on the move, transfers the ball to her throwing hand and throws a strike to the first baseman; retiring the batter by about 4 steps. WOW!! Did you see that, I asked all of the other parents around me. They all confirmed what I saw with my own two eyes. (Or maybe they were just being nice.) So that’s when I decided that my daughter was going to play college softball. She had no clue until years later that I put that plan in motion for her.

So I started asking questions. Are there different levels of travel softball? Where do college coaches find talent? What does it take to get my daughter recruited? How should I act when my daughter has a bad game? How should I act when she has a good one? What lessons do I need to provide for her? Is all of the expense worth it? What are my daughter’s goals? More importantly, how can I guide her to set the right goals? I must admit, I didn’t do a very good job because I was a bit over-bearing. I’m sure that there were times my daughter thought I was a nut-case. I’m sure there were times that her coaches felt the same way about me. I wish I’d had a guide. I didn’t. Fortunately, in spite of my ignorance on the subject, my daughter turned out just fine. More importantly, she continued playing her sport in college. She will never have any thoughts of, “could I play?” Equally important, she’s at her perfect fit school. She’s attending the 16th ranked academic college in the country. As they told us new families during freshman orientation, graduates walk out after four years with a certain intellectual swagger. More important to me, she attends a college that costs over $50,000 per year that I haven’t written a check to yet. So how did she find this school?

She embraced the recruiting process. By understanding and applying a few principals, she achieved recruiting success. She received recruiting information from 145 different programs. She narrowed those down to about 25 colleges that had real, genuine interest in her. She again narrowed those to 3 colleges that offered financial aid to play. And, she chose the best fit for her. She’s entering her senior year playing D1 softball. She was elected one of the captains as a junior and led her team by batting .418. She will be studying in London her first semester senior year. She has interviewed already with top Wall Street firms. I couldn’t be prouder.

-Keith Babb

My Athletes Wanted Story

Even though I never played sponsored collegiate athletics or went through the recruiting process, my mind was constantly reaching back to my high school volleyball days remembering what it was like to be a full time student-athlete. Remembering the drills that seemed to last forever, the coarse calluses on my hand, and the sweat that never seemed to escape my face. I have so many memories of that gym, that ball, and that game that gave me so much.

I was hoping to write some all encompassing, inspiring snippet about all that sports has given me and taught me, but now I don’t think I can do that. Every story is so vastly unique but also so insanely similar that it is hard to describe unless you’ve been there. That is what Athletes Wanted was for me, a chance to relive my individual experience yet share that experience with all those other athletes before and after me. I can think of no other way to summarize my Athletes Wanted story than with this. “You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a ball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” –Former Big Leaguer, Jim Bouton.

Sport has given me so much and I hope that one day I can give as much back.

-Jim Broe

Athletes Wanted Visits Wrigley Field

Athletes Are Wanted by the US Armed Forces

“Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields on other days will bear the fruits of victory,” MacArthur famously said decades ago about sports’ role in the armed forces.

My Athletes Wanted Story

Unlike most employees at NCSA, I never played a sport in college. Despite not playing collegiately, athletics have played an enormous role in my life and helped me play a role in many other lives. Athletics helped me forge many dear friendships, learn how to interact with others and continues to shape my life on a daily basis. However, the single greatest gift athletics gave me was the will power and determination to participate in a charity bicycle event traveling across the United States to benefit people with disabilities.

Biking over 3,900 miles from San Francisco to the Capital steps in Washington D.C. would not have been possible without the lessons I learned earlier in life through sport. The willpower to climb mountains and endure hours on the bike were actually developed playing sports years earlier.

Most importantly the trip allowed me to help hundreds of people with disabilities all summer long. Working daily to help others allowed me the chance to really understand who I was as a person. I will be eternally grateful for the lessons I learned that summer and none of them would have been possible without sport.