For many high school athletes, attending college for sports is a lifelong dream. There are many positive aspects to life as an athlete in college, as well as several downsides. While the demand for college-level players has stayed relatively consistent over the past decade, the supply of talented and determined high schoolers eager to become college athletes has increased exponentially. As a result, the process of recruitment has become more challenging and competitive. Once you do get recruited for college, the weight may seem to be off your shoulders. However, there are many obstacles to overcome throughout your college career as an athlete. Most times, those players that are recruited early are the ones that are the least informed on the college experience as an athlete.
Joan McDermott, the Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of San Francisco, was also a volleyball player during her college career. McDermott grew up in San Francisco and knew the school inside out which is what led her to commit to USF.
“I had no regrets. I took the time to research other schools, and I decided that USF was the best fit. The best part was two things: being a part of a team, and being able to compete in a sport I loved,” she said.
McDermott also discussed the difference between the laid-back atmosphere when she played, and the pressure students face today. She believes, “there weren’t as many time demands as there are now. Currently, athletes spend 20 hours a week on their sport, not including travel.”
“Universities are pushing student-athletes to commit earlier and earlier. The problem is, most coaches are pressuring athletes to commit in their junior year verbally. This pressure is most common in women’s sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball and even baseball. Many high school students feel a lot of pressure, and because the decision has to be made so early, they may not really know what school is the best fit.”
Alysse La Mond, a senior at BHS, has committed to the University of Minnesota on a full scholarship for soccer. Since the age of 14, La Mond has been sending recruiting videos, emailing colleges, and having universities regularly watch her games. To begin training, La Mond is graduating a semester early and starting practice with her new team in the spring.
Over the years, college recruiters would go to visit her games to begin recruiting soccer players. La Mond added that “the quality of my performance at each game had the possibility to change my future.”
One of the main pressures for La Mond was social because she felt the constant pressure to attend colleges like Cal Poly or UCSB because of the connections her club had with them.
“I also felt pressured because [UCSB and Cal Poly] are more well-known here at Burlingame while Minnesota kind of seems foreign to everyone. In the end, though, I decided that I shouldn't go to a school because my peers think it's cool, but rather because I love the school whether my peers do or not.”
Ultimately, La Mond weighed all her options and chose the school she thought best fit her interests and priorities.
“In the end, I chose the University of Minnesota because they were able to provide me with athletic programs and services that other schools couldn’t offer. The coach is also great and has a competitive mentality which I love. I could really see myself at Minnesota.”