DAPHNE, Ala. – Middle and high school soccer players in Baldwin and Mobile counties and their parents recently received first-hand information from college coaches on how to pursue college soccer opportunities at a program hosted by the Gulf Coast Rangers Football Club and the United States Sports Academy.
The information session held on the Academy campus in Daphne was open to boys and girls and featured soccer coaches from three area colleges who gave students and parents advice on how to pursue opportunities to play soccer for all types of schools, including community colleges, NCAA schools, independent and private colleges and others. The program also included information on scholarship opportunities.
The coaches advised players to participate in school and club teams in middle school and high school, attend soccer showcases and camps, reach out directly via email and other means to coaches at schools of interest, post performance videos on YouTube and share them with college coaches, and maintain high academic standards.
The coaches also advised demonstrating good sportsmanship and character, keeping good relationships with high school coaches, and being careful with social media postings that might cast the student in a negative light.
The coaches agreed that soccer is a highly competitive sport in the United States with many players competing for each spot at the college level. They advised players to be aggressive in pursuing opportunities.
Participating coaches included Allison Whitworth, head women’s soccer coach at Springhill College; Daniel Whelan, head men’s soccer coach at the University of Mobile; and Mark Foster, assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of South Alabama.
“The purpose of this program is to provide education to young players and their parents and give them information to explore college opportunities in soccer,” said Scott Brown, Rangers board of directors member.
Alexandria Valencia, a freshman at Daphne High School who plays on the Rangers club, attended the event with her father, José. She wants to pursue soccer in college.
“The program was very helpful,” she said.
“I learned that there is a lot involved in getting noticed in order to play at the college level. I also learned that you should reach out to coaches. I learned that it is OK to reach out to coaches to invite them to come see your games.
“I learned a lot.”
The Gulf Coast Rangers Football Club includes players age 11 and older from throughout the Baldwin and Mobile County area. Its primary base is players rising from the Daphne Strike and Fairhope Soccer clubs, Brown said.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.