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College dreams and the offseason...

05 February 5:36 pm

College dreams and the offseason...

By Joe Cannon

Hey friends and fellow GK's,
 
Sorry it has been so long but I was back in California for the offseason, went to a couple bachelor parties, made a few trips, and got married. Wasn't really in the mode to chat soccer, but now that I'm back in Vancouver, I wanted to write a few thoughts down.
 
Recently, I have received some emails asking what high school kids can do to play college soccer. Although it seems a fairly simple question, the answers are sometimes not so simple. The first thing one must do is to realistically view themselves. Do I have a chance at playing? If so, what level? Have I been contacted by anyone? Has someone ever recommended college? 
 
So you think you have a shot huh? Well there are a few basic things that all students should do to have the best options to play at the college level. First, you have to study. I look back on my high school days and wish I would have put a little more time and energy into my schoolwork. There were so many colleges where I did not have the opportunity to play because of my grades. Right away, I closed a few doors. Secondly, you have to currently be playing soccer at a competitive level. Of course there are always exceptions, but for the most part, coaches are looking at players from all over the country (sometimes the world) to fill out their rosters. Like everything else in life, the higher you go up in level, the more competitive the field becomes. To help yourself out, make a list of colleges you would like to attend. Dream colleges, back up schools, interesting places that you could see yourself going and being happy.
 
The next step is to simply write to the coaches of those schools. Let them know you are interested. This will go a long way. Coaches have no clue who to recruit at times and the last thing they want to do is waste time trying to recruit someone who is not even interested in their school. When I was younger, I had a lot of pride and waited for coaches to contact me. I look back and realize how foolish I was. Don't make the same mistakes I made. 
 
Also, make sure that you have on file a highlight tape that includes a few minutes of you in games. Be very selective with the highlights. Make them relevant to what you want to show. Try not to show you kicking the ball a thousand times and then making 3 saves. Coaches want to see you making good decisions and manifesting good technique. Ask a current coach or someone who has played in college to give you more direction. Or you can just send me a link to your videos and I can give a quick summary. You may have to wait awhile though..haha
 
The next topic I want to touch on is the offseason. For younger players, this is usually the summer, but nowadays, it's different all over. If you are really serious about your dream of playing soccer in college or professionally, the offseason is not a time to waste just vacationing and playing video games. Although I did my fair share of that as a youngster, I was also very keen on trying to find people to play with and find games. If you're a bit older, you can lift, do plyometrics and basically work on getting stronger. Ask your coach or trainer what they would like to see you work on and just do it!!
 
There was an old saying at the St. Francis High School weight room. It went something like this: "When you are not training, there is someone out there who is. And when you meet them, they will win." It pretty much tells you the story. You have to want it more than anyone else. Throw out skill and technique, and give me a kid with desire. It is easier to take these motivated kids and work out the other stuff. In saying that, these motivated kids tend to also be students of the game. 
 
Here in Canada, our younger players in the Whitecaps FC Residency program live and breathe soccer. They train almost daily in hopes of realizing their dreams to play soccer professionally. What will happen when you face these kids?? Your work ethic and determination are the only answers to that question.
 
Best Wishes and
 
may the posts be with you....