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College recruiting and making tough decisions

By Emily Davis | May | June 2020
Soccer has been a huge part of my life for the last 13 years. It all began when my parents signed me up for recreational soccer at the age of 4. I transitioned into competitive, travel soccer four years later and I have spent many years dreaming about playing Division I collegiate soccer. To fulfill that dream, I have had to make decisions that would help me reach my goal, which includes a lot of soccer outside of my four years on the Franklin High School team.  I joined Elite Clubs National League team at the San Juan Soccer Club, one of the Sacramento-area’s top competitive soccer clubs. I knew that joining the ECNL program would better my chances of gaining a college scholarship and playing soccer at a higher level. I also began participating in an Olympic development program, NorCal Premier’s Player Development Program. All of this high-level soccer created new challenges and I had to learn how to balance school, soccer, family and enjoying school events. I found myself staying up late to finish homework, writing essays, and studying for tests. I have had to learn to communicate with teachers, my parents, and coaches to make sure I was keeping up with everything.  I can honestly say that my parents and family have done a great job in supporting me throughout this process and have been there during the college recruiting process, which has been quite a challenge. In September 2018, I received a phone call from the head coach of the University of California-Riverside, to offer me a scholarship to attend and play Division I soccer for them. I was elated to hear about the offer, took an official tour of the school and training facilities that month. After returning from my two-day visit, I sat down with my parents and discussed my experience, my thoughts and the offer given to me. They have both been through this process, having played Division I soccer at Sacramento State University. They were both scholarship players and both made huge impacts on the soccer program at the school. My dad played as a goalkeeper, is in the Sacramento State Hall of Fame, and holds records for the men’s soccer program. My mom currently holds four records and won Big Sky Conference MVP her senior year. I feel their knowledge in the recruiting process has allowed them to best guide me as I have had to make difficult decisions in the last year.  I accepted the official offer to play for UC Riverside  in late September. At that moment I felt I was making the best decision for my future. I felt confident, happy, and ready to embark on the next chapter of my life. That all changed in April 2019 when I began having second thoughts about my decision. I began questioning moving away from family and friends and knew I had to discuss this with my parents and coaches. Family is very important to me and I felt that staying closer to home and playing soccer at a school where my family could frequently attend games was important. My parents and coaches were very supportive about my feelings and they helped guide me in the direction that would lead me to make a hard decision.  I made the difficult phone call to the UC Riverside coach to let him know that I wasn’t coming to the school and not joining the team. I remember crying and feeling awful, but I knew it was the best decision for me. In September 2019, I decided to attend, play, and accept a scholarship to Sacramento State University. The decision was easy for me to make as it was closer to home, it’s my parents’ alma mater, and I fell in love with the coaching staff, facilities, and school.  This journey has been rewarding, as it has helped shape me into the person I am today. I am grateful for the experiences it has brought me and I would have never come across such amazing people in my life without it. My parents have been a huge support and have helped guide me in the direction that has allowed me to fulfill my dreams of playing Division I soccer and attending a great school. I look forward to finishing my year at Franklin High School and playing the last couple of months for San Juan Soccer Club. I look forward to the next chapter of my life as a college student and Hornet and I truly want to thank my parents, family, coaches, friends, and teachers for supporting me through this journey. Stingers up!

Emily Davis is a student at Franklin High School in the Elk Grove Unified School District
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Six things to know about parenting a student-athlete

What does it take to parent a student-athlete that is being recruited by universities? Paula Davis, the all-time leading goal scorer at Sacramento State University, has six tips to get you successfully through the process. 1. Help your student-athlete establish a good routine for school, sports, and social events. 2. Support the student-athlete in their journey by being open-minded, supportive, and educated in the process. 3. Understand that decisions made for your child are always in the best interest of them, as it is their future, not yours. 4. It takes great sacrifices on your part as a parent (time, money, travel, understanding, support, and love). 5. Allow your student-athlete to make final decisions for their future. 6. Love watching them play!

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