Category Archives: sports

College Sports Recruiting – baby steps

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*note, I am not a coach, affiliated with any college sport program, or a sports manager… I am just a mom documenting my journey with my daughters and their goal to play sports in college

now that it is 2013 and my oldest will turn 14 within this calendar year… she is eligible to register with the NCAA as a student athlete.

yes I know that she is only in 8th grade and currently is only 13 years old… and she is not such an elite athlete that coaches will be knocking down her door the day she steps into high school… BUT when the time comes for the real recruiting process to begin I want to be ready, not taken by surprise.

I am hoping that if I do some advanced planning we can stay on top of the process and not make mistakes (or at least not drastic mistakes) along the way.

so far, I have not found that friends/ acquaintances have been all that helpful… we have some friends who have sons that have signed to play baseball and basketball … but I have not been successful in getting tips from them on how the process worked for them or what steps they took to help their sons through the process.  In part I am sure this is because we are dealing with not only different sports but different genders.

the two places on the internet that I have found the most helpful information about recruiting and the world of college sports (and sports scholarships) have been the following two locations:

NCAA Eligibility Center

NCSA Athletic Recruiting

as our first step, we have started the registration process for the NCAA eligibility center.  The earliest you can register is the calendar year your child turns 14, and thus the year they will enter high school.  I have registered my daughter but mush of the information we will add later as many of the questions pertain to your participation after you have turned 14.

in order to be recruited to play sports in college you must register with the eligibility center

 

A girl?!?! On the football team?!?!

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I have shared here before that we are a sports family. A family of five which includes THREE very athletic GIRLS.

Emilyn – 9year old

Eliza – 13years old

Etienne – 4years old

When it comes to sports my three are the perfect storm of natural ability, competitive spirit and intelligence.
They have each play multiple sports (basketball, softball, volleyball, football, beach volleyball and soccer) and would try anything if we could find the time of day to do it.

And we, their parents, try all that we can to remove obstacles that might otherwise hold them back.

I don’t really know where their drive for sport comes from.

I personally was willing to quit everything I started (girl scouts, dance, gymnastics, softball, etc.) and I never had the courage or commitment to push limits and norms.

This, my willingness to quit and my inclination toward being average, is what I see as my one personal regret.  A regret that I will not allow my children to repeat.

I settled for just being average, I didn’t strive to be something great. I allowed my childhood dreams to fade out of fear for the hard work they would require.
So for my girls I encourage goals, and have told them they have the potential to be and do something great… So they should never settle for good enough or just getting by.

my oldest daughters story of being a girl on a football team is her real life lesson about setting goals, pushing limits and never settling for just being good enough.

There has been a lot of  media attention around the 9 year old girl on the football team, and I understand that my daughter was not the first and she and the 9 year old on the news will not be the last… but I do believe that no matter how common their story becomes they are still likely just 1 girl on a team of 40-60 boys and no matter how often we hear their story know that they have worked hard, dealt with adversity (even if small) and they just want to be recognized for their athletic ability… not the length of their ponytail

this is my daughters football story.

My oldest Eliza, is in 8th grade. For the last two years she played on her middle school football team. Both years she was a kicker.

E Kicking off

She has amazing strength with her left leg/foot, which also serves her well on the soccer field.
This season, her second year on the team, she saw a lot more playing time… As part of most every kick-off, an extra point or two & even made a touchdown saving tackle.

During football season (about 2.5 months) she also played travel soccer on a club soccer team.

So her daily schedule is this:

7:00am wake up

7:35am on the bus to school

3:15pm school day ends… change for football practice

5:00pm leave football… change for soccer practice

5:30pm soccer practice

7:00pm home to study and eat dinner

10:30pm bed

This was her schedule Monday – Wednesday, Thursday was football game day, Friday her evening off, weekends included at least one soccer game…

as a side note Eliza has also maintained a straight A average since 3rd grade in advanced classes

For families that don’t do what we do, I know that this seems insane.  But I promise you that we as a family also have a lot of fun, act crazy, do things that make us who we are… and my children have social lives

Overall Eliza’s football experience was positive but not without struggles.

In her first year the coach played her on the field ONE time all season, in spite of the cheers from the crowd to put in the kicker.

At her first football event, a camp at our local high school, a dad (a man who knows her soccer skill) said…

“why are YOU here, are they having cheer-leading practice or something”.

On day two another dad (again who knows her athletic ability) said,

“oh you made it back”.

As the season went on, the coaches asked her why she was playing. She said her mom told her there are a lot of soccer players who kick; their reply

“well, what does your DAD think”

In general because of her athletic ability Eliza is used to coaches who want her around, who want the opportunity to be part of working with her. Football was different.  My husband spent every afternoon he could coaching her, but was not an official member of the coaching staff so had no communication with the head coach about her abilities or strategies.
By this season, I think that the coaches came to realize she was not there for political motives or to rock any boats… They knew that she was an athlete who just wanted to play. But being the only girl on the team there is always a feeling of not fully being part of the team. She was asked to sit at the front of the bus (I think the coach wanted to protect her), most communication happened in the locker room, where she obviously was not.  On equipment cleaning days she spent a lot of her time standing outside the boys locker room waiting for someone to bring her uniform from inside the locker room.

The team also went on a trip to a local college game… I did not let Eliza attend.  the trip was sponsored by a local Men’s group.  The “price” of attending included attending a motivational talk for Young Men.  Not fully knowing who the men’s group was, or how they would feel about the girl attending their talk for young men, or feeling like her being in the room would affect the candor at the lecture.  I did not allow Eliza to go… this was not a popular decision at home 🙂

I know it was her choice to play and she could have tried something easier (her school has a softball team that competes in the same season as football).  And there are people in our community that think a girl has no business on the football team.   But as you recall, I have taught my girls to set goals and not to settle for average.
I am proud of my daughter and all the girl football players out there. Football is a hard sport, the training is intense and then add in the additional challenges of being a girl.

It takes courage, dedication, drive and a whole lot of hardwork to be any kind of  athlete

We are a sports family

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We are a sports family! So that makes me a sports mom. Although I like to think of myself as a talent manager, that sounds more official.

This life of youth sports is a choice that we have made. And is not the life for everyone. There are many that would argue that we are over-scheduled and to be extreme robbing our kids of their childhood. However, I say we all make choices about how to raise our children, and ways to spend our family time. The life of youth sports is the choice that we have made.

This choice is many things. Lots of which seem negative. This choice is time consuming, making it one of the reasons that I am currently a stay at home mom. It is hectic, stressful and financially demanding but to-date I don’t regret this life.

We have three daughters. At the time of this post here is what the activities look like.
Our oldest who is 12 plays:
School football

School Volleyball

Club/ travel soccer

Club/ travel Volleyball

Travel Sand/ Outdoor Volleyball

Our middle daughter who is 9 plays:
Travel/ club: soccer


And is hoping to start recreation or travel volleyball soon

Our youngest who is 4 is just beginning to tryout sports and has done:
Dance/ tumbling

Recreation Soccer

Recreation T-ball

We are not in it for the fame and fortune that sports will bring, because we are realistic.

But let’s hope if any or all of them achieve fame they will remember dear old mom and reward her with a shiny new convertible like the one I gave up back when the first baby car seat entered our life.

Joking aside if they never achieve greatness… That they have achieved really pretty good is a positive for their future in the real world. There is so much to say about the benefits of girls who participate in sports; health, empowerment, etc.  If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of women and girls in sports or ways to support sports for girls check out The Women’s Sports Foundation.
It is my hope that their participation in sport forever encourages them to be their best in all that they do, and to never settle for average. I hope that they steer toward male dominated careers (ie, math, science & technology) with their heads held high knowing that they have the skills and abilities to compete.

I do hope to use this blog to chronicle our experience in the world of competitive youth sports and college sports recruiting. I am not an expert, a former athlete or a coach, I am just a mom trying to make my way through this process.