HAGERSTOWN — The road to college soccer is a difficult one to navigate for many high school-age players and their families.
That’s why Locomotive FC, the Hagerstown-based youth soccer club, has created a map to help make the trip a little easier for them.
Locomotive kicked off its annual College Preparatory Series on Wednesday evening at Fountain Head Country Club with an educational discussion, entitled “The Realities of Recruiting.” It was led by David Jones, Locomotive’s director of coaching, and Gene Whitney, the club’s U18 girls coach. There were about 40 people in attendance.
“The series is to help kids and families learn how to get from Point A to Point B in going from being a high school/club-level player to getting on a college soccer field,” Jones said in an interview before Wednesday’s event. “There’s just so much information out there on how to get this done, and we’ve consolidated it all to help people understand.”
He said the advice ranges from “who to send emails to” to “how to prepare yourself to play in front of college coaches at showcase events.”
Five Locomotive girls are heading off to college soccer programs this fall, including Miranda Kearney, a recent Clear Spring High School graduate, who was in attendance Wednesday.
“I figured that I could help because I went through the college recruiting process last year,” said Kearney, who is receiving a scholarship to play NCAA Division II women’s soccer at St. Andrews University in North Carolina.
Kearney, who was an All-Washington County First Team selection for the Blazers last fall, credited Locomotive’s guidance for helping her reach the next level.
“I never knew what to do before,” she said.
Tori Mills, who will be a sophomore at South Hagerstown this year, already knows what she wants to do. She was at Wednesday’s event to learn more about how to get it done.
“I want to be in physical therapy,” said Mills, who was an all-county second-team selection for the Rebels last fall. “Playing a college sport will help guide me.”
Whitney told the crowd that academics need to be the top priority.
“Focus on academics first,” he said. “And then if you can match soccer with academics, perfect.”
He also had a warning.
“The recruiting process started yesterday,” he said. “You’re already behind if you haven’t started.”
A variety of discussion panels are planned for future series events. Jones said the next event probably will be held in mid-September.
For more information, contact Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.