Oceanside United Goes to School on Recruiting
December 11, 2014 | by Ken Ilchuk
Through the driving rain, they came. Through the howling winds, they came. A crowd of over 100 Oceanside SC players and parents braved the elements of the season’s first nor’easter on Tuesday night to learn the ins and outs of the college recruiting game.
As it turns out, they came to the right place.
Treated to an all-star panel led by former LIJSL College Bound Director Pat Grecco, and her longtime partner and current College Bound director Pat Secko, Tuesday night’s attendees got an in-depth look at the keys to creating and implementing a successful college search for today’s student-athlete.
"Oceanside United was pleased to host this College-Bound Forum which was informative and underscored the importance of the academic component for the student-athlete in this process,” said OUSC board trustee Richard Eisenberg. “We greatly appreciate LIJSL putting programs like this together for our player-families."
After a brief welcome from longtime Oceanside SC board member and travel coach Steve Padaetz, Grecco, an LIJSL and Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Famer, took the floor as “the original Soccer Mom,” and discussed the parent’s role in the college search. NYU men’s coach Joe Behan discussed how and when to begin your college search, and the right way to balance academic and athletic success in college.
The discussion then turned to the reality of college scholarships. New NYIT women’s coach Mike Caputo explained what funds are usually available, and how coaches handle those resources when recruiting young players. Secko then talked about the importance of the NCAA Eligibility Center and completing the NCAA Clearinghouse form, which is mandatory for all Division I and Division II college athletes. Grecco then spoke about the experience of a student-athlete at the national service academies before Behan and Caputo explained the differences between playing Division I, Division II, or Division III soccer and how to determine which level of collegiate soccer is best for you.
Padaetz then returned to the conversation with Danielle Chiera, an Oceanside native and former collegiate player who has coached high school soccer in NJ. They talked about the role of the high school and club coach in the college search. Chiera then went on to talk about her own college experience as a player and what the expectations are of team members at that level.
Finally, Caputo and Behan discussed what college coaches are looking for in a player. Some in the audience were probably surprised to hear several myths debunked, and REALLY learn what’s important and what isn’t.
All in all, it was an enlightening experience for those who attended, and they received a wealth of information of what has become an ever-changing process. In the end, the overriding message continued to be; work hard at soccer, but harder at your academics, enjoy the process, find the school that provides the best fit for you, and know that if you want to play soccer in college, there are hundreds of places to play, and there is a place for everyone.