What matters most in a college commitment

What matters most in a college commitment
by Travis Clark
October 1, 2021

Understanding the recruiting process is a crucial element for any high school student-athlete aspiring to compete at the collegiate level.

But what leads a player to picking a particular school? In an effort to answer that question, we asked several student-athletes at IMG Academy that have recently committed to share some thoughts behind their processes. Each recruit walks through the thought process and some of the factors considered before making a commitment -- and what he or she hopes to accomplish before making the jump.

Below are the three questions asked, and each player’s responses. Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

1. What factors were important to you in a college, and what made you decide to verbally commit prior to this season starting?

 2. What advice do you give younger players who are interested in competing at the collegiate level or even to those players who aren’t officially committed going into their senior year?

3. What is your motivation heading into this season before you officially sign and head to college?

Tatum Galvin 

IMG Academy Class of 2022

Future School: Virginia

1. An important factor in making my decision was the coaching staff. I looked for the staff that would challenge me and support me on and off the field. I looked for the staff that will help me reach my goals not only at the collegiate level, but also hopefully at the professional level in the future.  I decided to verbally commit before the season started because I had gone on visits to my top five schools and was at a point where I could make the decision with a clear head.

2. If I could give advice to younger players, I would say take your time. There is no rush, and everything happens for a reason. To anyone going into their senior year uncommitted, I would say put yourself out there, and be confident. You never know unless you try. 

3. My motivation comes from the level at UVA soccer. Watching them play, I know I need to work as hard as ever this season to be ready for that next step. I made my decision to go to UVA because it will be a challenge. I didn’t choose UVA to be mediocre. That is more than enough motivation for me.

Antonette Lopez

IMG Academy Class of 2022

Future School: Texas

1. For me a great coaching staff is really important because I want coaches that will push me to my limits as a player, while also supporting my goals. Texas’ coaching staff genuinely impressed me. I really like the way they interact with the team on a personal level, but also get right down to business when necessary. I want to play on a team that will continue to challenge me and allow me to improve. I want to be part of a family where my teammates are high level players that will push me in our practices, which will allow us to succeed in our games. A challenging academic school was another must for me. Although I want to play professionally, I know soccer isn’t forever, so I need to think about my career goals in business after college. Texas’ undergraduate business program continues to be ranked No. 5 nationally, so considering that’s the major I’m interested in, it was a perfect fit. I also have close family that live in the Austin area, so the idea of playing in front of them excites me. 

I decided to commit prior to the season starting because I loved everything about UT on my official visit in August. The team energy was amazing, and I loved how personable the players and coaches were with me. Having a school to call “home” will allow me to use my senior high school season as a way to prepare for the 2022 college fall season and take away some of the stress that goes with this process. Texas fit all my criteria, so it was an easy decision to commit there.

2. Be patient and don’t settle. Make sure the schools you are looking at have everything you want because in the end it’s where you are going to end up for the next four years. Make sure you ask a lot of questions, and get to know the coaches and players well because you will be with them the majority of your time.

3. My motivation this season is to make sure it prepares me for the change in intensity that it takes to play D1 college soccer. The speed of play and talent of the players is a lot different than normal opponents in club or high-school. As a freshman, I want to be able to go in and make an impact right away. Since I’ll be playing with girls years older than me, preparation this year is more important than anything.

Bailey Piper

IMG Academy Class of 2022

Future School: LSU

1. Factors that were important to me in a school were team chemistry, coaching staff, their facilities and the overall dynamic of the athletic program. I felt like I found a program that I would thrive in as a player and person. 

2. Don’t rush the process, there are a lot of ups and downs, but you will find the school that is meant for you. It can be challenging at times, but all the hard work will eventually pay off. 

3. My motivation heading into the season is not only to have a successful year with my teammates but to also keep improving as a player to be prepared for the college environment. 

Dylan Ellis

IMG Academy Class of 2022

Future School: Brown

1. When looking for a college, it was really important to me that I found a program where I would be constantly challenged both on the field, as well as in the classroom. For me, Brown offered me just that, as I'm able to play Division I soccer as well as get an Ivy League education at the same time. Going into this season as a [postgraduate], I knew that I wanted to really focus on the team's success and goals, and committing prior to the season allows me to zero in on the schedule ahead. 

2. One piece of advice I would give is that the college process is different for everyone, and the worst thing you can do is measure yourself to someone else. Stay focused on your path, and do the work to achieve your own goals.

3. This season I'm focused on one thing, and that's winning. I think IMG has given a lot to me and has pushed me to reach my goals, so I want to leave my mark on this program and do anything I can to help the team reach the goals we have all been fighting for. 

Kaitaro Tamashiro

IMG Academy Class of 2023

Future School: North Carolina

1. I decided to commit early as UNC looked like a great fit. I loved the atmosphere, had a great connection with the coaches and players. I was also intrigued by their amazing offer and facilities.

2. My advice is to enjoy the process and continue to work on your sport and your grades.

3. My motivation is to continue to improve and play the game I love before I officially sign.

Nathan Richmond

IMG Academy Class of 2022

Future School: Clemson

1. Factors that were important to me in a college were finding the right university to meet my soccer needs, as well as my academic needs, as well as finding a school to compete at the highest level. I wanted to verbally commit before the season started so I had my head set on the right school and where I'm going before I'm in the middle of the season, so I can make sure I make the best decision.

2. My advice to those players is to keep working hard, listen to your coaches and create attention.

3. My motivation heading into this upcoming season is getting to the finals of the MLS [Next] Cup and winning as many games as possible.

To learn more about the recruiting process or about IMG Academy’s offerings, register for a free account with TopDrawerSoccer where you can learn more about their soccer development opportunities.

Did you know NCSA offers free college recruiting resources? As the official college recruiting services partner of IMG Academy, you also have access to their tools to help you manage your recruiting journey, make connections, and get recruited. It’s all available when you click here!

Related Topics: Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Ivy League, SEC
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