Aspire Atlantic recently took 12 high school soccer players to the Future 500 Soccer Camp in Philadelphia, USA. What we discovered, is that soccer in the USA is growing at a rapid rate and that college soccer is now a massive attraction for players from all over the world.
The tour was a unique experience for the boys. They got a first-hand taste of what life would be like as a college athlete. They were not put up in hotels; rather they stayed at the Eastern University dorms. The camp was four days of non-stop soccer and educational seminars, which is similar to university preseason and the camp councillors were all Student-Athletes who gave their insight into the life of a college athlete.
The most impressive part of the camp was the coaches interaction with players. At standard recruiting events, the boys will play, and coaches will watch. This was not the case. The coaches were tasked with training and preparing the players for their games, and they would even make substitutions. This unique experience is unlike any other I’ve seen, and the exposure is invaluable.
Players normally want coaches to approach them about recruiting opportunities. The truth is coaches are busy; they have thousands of potential players and for a coach to approach you, you will have to be exceptional. The best way for a player to be scouted is to approach the coach, introduce yourself and make a good impression; however, nerves get in the way and players are too shy. At the Future 500 ID Camp, coaches had hands on interaction with the players, allowing the boys to build a relationship with them, before starting the recruitment conversation.
Our boys have had fantastic responses from colleges. But the biggest lesson the players learnt was how to be more of an international player. They now understand how they need to play to study at the collegiate level. In the next 24 months, Aspire Atlantic and Alan Marcus will be working to develop a programme to coach soccer players in a manner that will enable them to compete globally. The game of soccer is changing, and we do not want to be left behind.
Many of our students are heading off to the USA to start their freshman year. So we thought it is important to provide them with some tips on what to pack, what to expect when moving into a dorm, will there be enough storage space and a whole bunch of other important aspects that you should know before embarking on your journey.
It can be quite daunting when packing for college, where you pack your entire life into two suitcases. When it comes to your dorm life, keep in mind that you’re moving into a small room with very little storage space and you will most likely be sharing with another person, so it is important to take only the things that are necessary.
Tips when Packing:
- Clothes: If you are going as an athlete, you will receive lots of university team gear. Do not over pack on the athletic ware as you will receive lots when you arrive. Take only the necessities.
- Bed linen: There are fantastic stores such as Walmart and Target that sell linen, and the prices are extremely affordable. Therefore, do not waste space by packing towels and linen, rather get it when you arrive.
- Toiletries: Just like linen, you can get all your toiletries in the USA. Take only the essentials and get everything else when you arrive.
- Seasons: Think about where you will be situated, If you are going to a warm area of the country, there is no need to take heaps of winter gear. The same goes for a colder climate, do not pack excessive summer clothes for a cold environment. Remember the seasons are the opposite when travelling to the States from South Africa.
You are not allowed to cook in the dorms as all freshman eat in the food halls, but sometimes freshman get small bar fridges and microwaves in their rooms. If a small fridge and microwave is something you would want, contact your college and see if one will be provided, if not, speak to your roommate before arriving and see if they would like to split the price and share. Sometimes your roommate will already have these things. These items are not necessary, but it is nice to be able to store fresh milk, juice and snacks in your room.
Once you are in the States, settled and your freshman year ends, there comes the problem that you will not want to take all your belongings back home with you, only to return it after the summer break. You have two options here, 1) You can rent a storage unit for three-months 2) Ask your friends who are staying through the summer if you can store your belongings at their place. This saves money and there are always people hanging around for the summer.
Make sure that you do not pay full prices for textbooks. You can find them online or at a local second-hand book store for much cheaper and make sure you sell them back after the semester ends. If you want to save money, you can rent textbooks for the semester, just make sure that you look after them.
Other Cool Tips:
Be sure to listen during orientation, speak to your student advisor about setting up a bank account, use your student discount wherever you can, join groups and clubs during the first few weeks, grab all the free stuff that is handed out on campus and purchase some wheels to get around. By wheels, I mean a skateboard or a bike, as this will save you time. Most bike stores let you sell the bike back to them when you leave, so you can get some cash back, which is always a plus for students.
Remember that all freshmen are in the same boat. You are all new, nervous and excited. Make the most of every opportunity, meet as many new people as you can and allow yourself to enjoy the experience.
Have a safe journey and all the best!
Choosing the correct subjects can make all the difference for aspiring athletes.
Choosing subjects in grade 9 can be daunting. Not all students know at 14 or 15 years old what they want to do when they get to university, so making sure that you set yourself up as best as possible is very important. When looking at what subjects to take leading up to matric, there are a few things you should know. Choosing your high school subjects wisely can play a major role in your USA athletic chances. There are three sporting associations; the NCAA, NAIA, and the NJCAA. The subject requirements set out by the NCAA, if followed, will ensure that you qualify for all three sporting associations, giving yourself the best opportunity to win a scholarship.
USA Universities and Athletic Associations take your Grade 9 to Grade 12 marks into consideration. The NCAA requires South Africans to take; Mathematics, English and a second language for four years. They also require 2 Social Sciences and 2 Natural Sciences over the course of grade 9 to grade 12. Maths Literacy is not accepted by the NCAA but is accepted by the NAIA and NJCAA.
The following subjects will give you credit when selecting a Social Science: History, Geography, Religion, Archaeology, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, Business Studies. South African Business Economics does not qualify.
Here are three ways to ensure social science compliance:
1. When selecting subjects, you should choose from History and Geography. These subjects are the most commonly chosen subjects by students when trying to qualify for NCAA eligibility.
2. If your high school combines History and Geography into Social Science in grade 9, you will get one credit. If they are listed separately on your report card, It does not matter that both subjects were taken in the same year, you will get two credits.
3. If it is too late to take these required subjects in school, an online course can be taken. These courses are eight to twelve weeks long and are completed online. Contact us for more information regarding this.
Three ways to ensure social science compliance:
1. In Grade 9 you took Biology and Physical Science (Not combined into Natural Science)
2. When choosing subjects in grade 9, select either Biology or Physical Science. (This is the best way to qualify for NCAA eligibility.)
3. If it is too late to take these required subjects in school, an online course can be taken. These courses are eight to twelve weeks long and are marked online. Contact us for more information regarding this.
Common problems that students experience:
1) South African schools often combined Geography and History into Social Science. At the same time, they also combined Physical Science and Life Science into Natural Sciences. This results in the NCAA only recognising one subject, meaning you will need to take more subjects in grade 10.
The NCAA does not recognise maths Literacy. No matter how talented an athlete you are, you will not be eligible. The problem is that coaches, do not offer scholarships to ineligible athletes when they can recruit someone who can play immediately. It is better to get 55% for Pure Mathematics than 85% for Literacy. If you are failing Pure maths, then you can take Maths Literacy as it is accepted by the two smaller associations.
Can I still go to a NCAA University if I do not meet their requirements?
Yes. The NAIA has 300 and the NJCAA has over 700 colleges and universities. If you do not meet the NCAA requirements, you can enrol at one of these colleges for one season and then transfer to the NCAA. This is a common practice, many of our top athletes follow this rout.
By following the guidelines that we have set above, you should have no issues with admission into and American college. Make sure you look closely at the above criteria when making those subject choices and if you haves doubts, be sure to contact us to get clarification.