By Charles Hayes
In junior year of high school, “I was getting ready to make plans to visit colleges, talk to coaches about playing soccer and just getting a sense of where I wanted to go. That all came to an end in March when the pandemic hit.
We went from the excitement of going to see what could be the next four years to absolutely nothing. What was the next step? Did all the hard work just go down the drain?
After many hours of looking online waiting to see how colleges were preparing for the next step and how they were going to recruit. “Here are the lessons I have learned along the way.”
I noticed first that so many colleges were sending not just the average flyer but packets of information with multiple photos to introduce themselves and what they had to offer. I mean it was way above the norm, I was receiving over 3-5 a week from all over the country. I asked a graduate of 2020, Jack Romagnoli about it. “To be honest I may have received 10 total over the course of the 2020 school year.”
This is how I actually got first interested in my choice of school. I learned so much about how many schools are actually out there and believe it when I say there is a school for everyone. I just had to go up to Rivier just recently and got to ask Josh Ciarcia, my admissions counselor about how they dealt with the pandemic. “Well we definitely had to switch gears and come up with some ideas that would catch the eye of potential students, I think collectively as a team we did a great job. We implemented more videos of the campus and sent out emails with the link, also instead of just sending out our normal post card we sent out a much larger packet of information and we really saw results from that.”
The next step for me was how any college soccer coaches were going to take a look. So we went to the website of NCSA, Next College Student Athlete founded back in 2000 in Chicago, IL. We sent an email and they hooked us up with a specialist there, Ken Marshall and then we set up a zoom meeting. Ken said, “NCSA too was dealing with tons of new students wanting to join because this was the best way for college coaches to look at athletes without being able to see them on the field. So we have taken steps to reach out to all of the colleges to ensure that our clients will get the best possible outcome in this crazy time.”
So we went with the MVP program, they had given a huge discount to do Covid, so what would have been $225 a month was $125 a month for one year. This was to make sure that we could get what was needed out to these coaches and it worked. We started it in May and by August I had 5 different coaches scouting me. I did get to go see 4 out of the 5 schools, but when I was asked to come up to see Rivier, it all just fell into place.
In the end, all the worries of what could not have happened went away due to all of the colleges, universities and NCSA stepping up for all the incoming freshmen around the U.S. I know how happy I was not only to find my university and get scouted for playing soccer but to do it and commit by December 15 so I could just focus on the rest of my senior year.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.