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Passion & persistence: two keys to playing your sport in college

“I’ve always been competitive. No matter what it is, I want to come out on top. That’s how soccer is for me. It makes me be the best I can be.”

If you can relate to this love for competition and passion to be the best you can be in your sport, you’ll relate to Rachel’s recruitment success story with CaptainU.

But playing sports and trying to play college sports isn’t all fun and games. In fact, it’s a lot harder than people think. But if you have the drive and love for the game that Rachel has, you’ll find that you can overcome any obstacles that are thrown your way. Take it from her…

Rachel Estopare, Senior, Soccer Goalkeeper

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When did you start playing your sport?

I started playing soccer in 1st grade and decided to play because my sister and I have always been best friends and I would always do what she did. When she started playing soccer, I wanted to follow along and I soon fell in love with the sport. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I found a passion for something I think not all people have felt. It was very influential on all areas of my life.

What do you like most about your sport?

I’ve always been competitive. No matter what it is, I want to come out on top. That’s how soccer is for me. It makes me be the best I can be. I challenge myself constantly, but that’s what I feed off of is the competition.

What are the biggest obstacles in your sport that you’ve overcome? How did you overcome it?

Every athlete gets burnt out. It just happens. At one point in my life I just wanted to be able to be with friends on weekends rather than at tournaments. Eventually I took a step back and reminded myself that this is what I love. I don’t need weekends or days off because whenever I’m playing, it’s with my team which is my family. Now, I have never had so much desire and fire for the game.

What are the biggest obstacles in the recruitment process that you’ve encountered and/or overcome? How did you overcome it (if you did yet?)

I’m not a big fan of talking to people I don’t know. When it comes down to it, being recruited is all about talking to coaches, whom you don’t know at first, and learning how to being comfortable and confident. So, I have grown to step up and put aside what I don’t like in order to be noticed.

How do you balance being a good athlete with being a good student?

It’s very hard and some days you have to choose between soccer and academics. It’s about balancing the two, but academics is what you’re going to need in college and in life so it’s a priority.

When did you realize you wanted to play college sports?

I started thinking about college sports when I was in middle school, when I realized I had a driving passion for the game that couldn’t be ignored.

Where did you first turn for recruitment tools, platforms, strategies, etc.?

CaptainU was actually one of the first tools I used for recruitment. When I was younger, I still had not yet decided on what college I wanted to attend so I didn’t really know which coaches to contact so it was nice to have my profile out there for college coaches to see without having the pressure of contacting them.

What things have worked and what things haven’t/didn’t work when trying to get in touch with coaches?

Be persistent with contacting coaches. Giving up on calling them will not work out well. Coaches are very busy and are not always available to answer their phones and NCAA rules prohibits them from calling you back. You have to be persistent and let the coaches know that you are interested and serious so they can put you on their radar. Keep calling until you get an answer.

How was your family involved & how was this helpful?

My parents helped me in so many ways. From taking me to school campuses, to helping me gather information and pictures for my profile, to reminding me of deadlines, and a lot of the other steps in the process. Their help was invaluable and I couldn’t have done it without their support.

What tools, platforms, strategies did you use throughout the whole process?

I would contact coaches and let them know I was interested and asked them to come watch me play at my tournaments. I would also let them know that my profile was on CaptainU and they could obtain my information that way also.

What worked best for you on CaptainU / what was your favorite CaptainU tool?

Getting an email from CaptainU that a college coach was reviewing my profile was pretty exciting. This gave me a huge amount of confidence that I was being noticed and that my messaging them was working.

What would be three recommendations you have to athletes trying to play in college?

1) Your grades in school are a huge factor when a college is looking at your profile. As soon as you enter high school, make academics your top priority. Get tutors if you have to, but keep your grades up.

2) Be persistent in contacting the coaches at the schools where you want to attend. Don’t give up when they don’t answer.

3) Find opportunities to let a coach know where they can see you play. Send videos or your profile to them so that if they can’t come see you play, they can still see you play this way.

Finally, what are your goals for the coming year in your sport? How are you currently doing in your sport?

My goal this year is to keep up my skills and keep fit by training and competing. I want to be as ready as I can be when I head to the west coast Division 1 school I committed to this fall.

Create your free CaptainU profile here to get access to thousands of college coaches and event directors and access tools to help you take your game to the next level!

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