Living overseas didn’t stop one military kid athlete from pursuing her dream of playing college soccer. How this family made it happen, and lessons you can learn from their experience.
If applying for college isn’t stressful enough, try doing it from Italy! And trying to have your soccer-playing military kid seen and recruited while living on a different continent is like having a second job!
Our daughter wanted to play soccer in college, so we focused on the recruiting process and trying to find the right academic and athletic program for her.
We always thought coaches were not allowed to talk the prospective collegiate athlete until the end of their junior year of high school. So, we thought we had plenty of time to plan. Because of that, we didn’t take her to college ID soccer camps until the summer prior to her senior year. We were so misinformed.
Our daughter’s excitement quickly turned to panic when she realized many of her camp roommates were already verbally committed to colleges. Many had been committed since their sophomore year.
Living overseas made it harder for her to be seen by college coaches; she was unable to attend showcase tournaments, weekend ID camps, or play with prestigious US teams back in the states. Fortunately, my husband took hours of video footage of her playing soccer, and we had taken advantage of every local soccer opportunity that was available in Italy. Little did we know, the footage from Italian and high school games might be the determining factor to gain acceptance into a college soccer program.
One of the best decisions we made was to make a trip back to the US, so our daughter could participate in some college tours before her senior year of high school. We took her to see schools ranging from small to very large, in three different states. It was a great experience for our family, but is was also overwhelming.
To say we were behind the curve in the whole process, puts it mildly. I’m kind of embarrassed to say we had no clue what we were getting into, and we learned so much as we went through the process.
If you are stationed overseas and your athlete wants to play sports in college: do your homework.
Make sure you have an NCAA number — coaches will want that. Plan accordingly to allow your athlete time stateside to attend college ID camps, trainings, and showcases.
The college application process can be very challenging; schools adhere to strict deadlines and the postal process from a base in Italy to a campus in the US is not very fast. Be prepared, have all of your documents and transcripts ready to go, and mail in the packets early!
Today, my girl is playing college soccer at Virginia Military Institute. She was the first athlete from Vicenza High School to sign with a Division 1 school. Our family considers this a come-from-behind victory, and we know our daughter found the right school for her. Your athlete can do the same!
Living overseas makes it harder, but we’re a military family; we welcome the challenge!