Advice for aspiring college soccer players

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BECOMING a college soccer player takes a lot of preparation, according to the special guests of  “Footcast with Norman Del Rosario,” episode six.

The first question to ask and answer is, “Where will I go for college?”

Sunjoon Tenorio and Dai Podziewski said they sought help from the Next College Student Athlete recruitment program, which provided them with options that best fit their interest. Upcoming college freshman Thaiphi Austria followed their footsteps and will soon play for Trine University in Angola, Indiana.

For others, the decision came later.

Guine Borja said after graduating from high school, she had several options so she carefully chose a college. “I considered the bigger colleges, but I didn't feel that playing for any of them would be beneficial to me. So I came to Houston in hopes of making a connection.”  In April, it was announced that Borja will attend Navarro College and play soccer for Coach Alicia Wilson’s Bulldogs.

Another choice to consider is the location of the college.  Dai Podziewski is more comfortable with city life and is happy to play for Suffolk University in Boston.

You must also figure out how far you are willing to go to pursue a career in soccer. Choosing colleges with division 1 or 2  level soccer teams could boost your chances of becoming a professional.

To avoid any complications, an aspiring college soccer player must prepare as early as possible. “It won't always just work out in your favor,” Borja said. “The earlier you prepare yourself, the better offers you will have.”

 Thaiphi Austria attempts to control the ball in midair during a training camp in Japan. Contributed photo

When things do not seem to be going your way, it is necessary to have a backup plan. “When choosing a college,” Enrico Del Rosario said, “you should ask yourself, ‘If you are not going to play soccer anymore, would you still be happy with that school?’ It is an important consideration if you’re not just looking for sports.”

Academics are also important. “Remember, you are a student athlete,” Gabi Race said.

Norman Del Rosario agreed.  “You are a student first,” he said.

“And college is a lot harder than high school,” Race added. “Not keeping up could jeopardize your spot on the college team.”

Borja said, “Coaches do pay attention to your grades — they want athletes who are well-rounded and can do well in school while playing sports.”

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